In­land high­way a popular op­tion

Isis Town and Country - - News -

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.”

PHOTO: SHIRLEY WAY

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.

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