Major state roads snubbed in ‘regional’ funding handout
THREE major state roads in desperate need of upgrades have missed out on vital funding from the State Government.
Lockyer MP Jim McDonald has blasted the State Government after the region’s roads missed out on a share of $400 million in upgrade funding.
Mr McDonald had been “hesitantly confident” last week when the government announced its road stimulus package.
But his confidence was quickly replaced by disbelief when the announcement revealed Lockyer and Somerset roads were not granted any funding.
“I could not believe what I was reading in the Premier’s statement – $400 million of road upgrades across the state yet not a cent for upgrades in the Lockyer electorate,’ said Mr McDonald.
“Every single day, residents in Lockyer risk their lives on some of Queensland’s most dangerous roads.
“The Warrego Highway, Brisbane Valley Highway and Forest Hill-Fernvale Rd are all in desperate need of upgrades, but they have once again been ignored by this city-centric government.”
But Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said most of the stimulus money was going to regional areas.
“The vast majority of this $400 million will go directly to our regions, supporting 360 jobs and helping us pave the way to recovery,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’ve already got hundreds of millions of dollars in projects under way right now, including millions for projects being built with councils through our TIDS program, and they’ll all be joined by much bigger ones to hit the ground running in coming months.
The Road Stimulus Package was announced last week as part of the State Government’s economic stimulus measures.
Toogoolawah local Beryce Nelson said the Brisbane Valley Highway was in desperate need of a major overhaul and said governments needed to make it a priority.
She was grateful for earlier funding from the State Government to upgrade sections of the highway but said more needed to be done.
“Some good work has started but it’s inadequate because it’s been more than 30 years since the whole highway has been touched,” Ms Nelson said.
“What we need is major funding from the Federal Government, because this road is major highway.”
With the highway experiencing a massive increase in heavy trucks, Ms Nelson said urgent work was needed as the trucks could be up to three times heavier compared to when the highway was first constructed.
She said if road upgrades were used to stimulate the economy following Covid-19, they should target the neediest regions.
“I don’t want to be critical … but if we’re thinking of stimulus when we come out of this, both the State Government and the Federal Government have got to stop thinking (Somerset) is an invisible region with no roads,” Ms Nelson said.
“The Brisbane Valley Highway really needs to, after 30 years, be a priority.
“It needs a major review and a major resurfacing.”
Lockyer MP Jim McDonald agreed.
“Every day more than 23,000 vehicles use the Warrego Highway, while 10,000 vehicles use the Brisbane Valley Highway and 5000 use Forest Hill-Fernvale Rd,” he said.
“These numbers are growing rapidly while the roads only get worse. We need meaningful and long-term safety upgrades to these roads and we need them now.”
The local member pledged to continue fighting for safety upgrades.