Deputy PM is be­ing ‘black leo­tarded’

Ly­cra threat real with­out ring road cash

Daily Mercury - - NEWS - NAVARONE FAR­RELL Navarone.Far­rell@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

IT COULD be an­other six years be­fore the Mackay Ring Road en­ters stage two con­struc­tion, ac­cord­ing to Mem­ber for Dawson Ge­orge Chris­tensen.

Mr Chris­tensen is play­ing hard-ball with Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port Michael McCor­mack about fast­track­ing ring road fund­ing off the back of a La­bor an­nounce­ment that it will take un­til 2024 to get it un­der way.

“It is very im­por­tant (the State Gov­ern­ment) is in line with com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions,” Mr Chris­tensen said.

“They’ve re­leased (a re­port) last week and that re­port shows they were not con­sid­er­ing do­ing the ring road un­til 2024 or be­yond – that’s com­pletely out of line with com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions.”

With lit­tle help forth­com­ing from the State Gov­ern­ment, Mr Chris­tensen has called on the Deputy PM to take no­tice.

“The ly­cra is here, the threat is real, I have a video and un­less we get money for the ring road I’m hold­ing the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter hostage,” Mr Chris­tensen joked.

“This is all about eco­nom­ics, im­prov­ing freight ef­fi­ciency, (that) means more money, more jobs, stage two, putting the ac­tual ring on it leads to more jobs.”

How­ever, the Deputy PM did not guar­an­tee fund­ing, nor a start date for stage two.

“The first stage is you’ve got me here. I turned up (in Mackay Wed­nes­day), talked to the busi­ness com­mu­nity, talked to a num­ber of peo­ple around the town who were pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cates for the com­mu­nity,” Mr McCor­mack said.

“I wouldn’t like to put a time frame on it be­cause I don’t want to raise, un­nec­es­sar­ily, hopes and ex­pec­ta­tions but I’ve had a good look at this project as a desk­top anal­y­sis, I’ve been here and vis­ited now and I’ll be go­ing back and talk­ing to my depart­ment about how we can best man­age this fund­ing con­cept.

“I could be black leo­tarded.”

Photo: Stu­art Quinn

LOOK­ING AHEAD: Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack and Dawson MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen at North Mackay Look­out, dis­cussing ring road stage two.

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