Inland highway a popular option
A PROMISE to build an inland highway and boost traffic in regional Queensland was welcomed by all Callide candidates, but not if it meant selling state assets.
On Friday, Mr Seeney announced $375 million to develop an inland alternative to the Bruce Hwy heading north to Cairns, passing through the North Burnett.
He said upgrades to the Burnett and three other highways would bring business and tourism benefits to “neglected” regional towns, particularly with connectors to the Bruce Hwy at Ban Ban Springs and Monto.
The promise was made just two weeks ahead of election day and while Labor candidate Graeme Martin agreed the Callide community was in desperate need of infrastructure, he said his party would not sell assets to pay for it.
“Selling our assets will leave a $2 billion black hole each year in our state budget,” Mr Martin said.
Independent Steve Ensby said Mr Seeney’s “loosely detailed plan” to spend about $50 million for Callide over five years equated to “a few spare pennies compared to the $131,500,000 already committed to the Premier’s inner city electorate (Ashgrove)” and it was a disappointment for Callide.
“If elected, I will commit to the improvement of our electorate’s infrastructure and I will commence with this with meetings, in Callide, within the first 100 days of being elected.”
Independent Michael Higginson also supported the project but questioned why it took an election to make the commitment to the spend.
Palmer United Party candidate John Bjelke-Petersen said, if elected, he would fight to ensure the highway was built.
“We will work in conjunction with councils; we will move forward with it,” he said. “It is about promoting the inland areas; we’ve so much to offer.”
INLAND HIGHWAY: Deputy Premier and Callide MP Jeff Seeney announces a five-year investment of $375m to upgrade the A3 to be a viable alternative to the Bruce Hwy. North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh said regional communities need to promote and support the initiative.