Road row erupts

MPs clash over Mt Low turn-off fund­ing blowout

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By SELINA SHAR­RATT

A PO­LIT­I­CAL row has erupted over claims an up­grade to a no­to­ri­ous stretch of the Bruce High­way near Mt Low could be stalled be­cause of a fund­ing blowout.

The road has be­come the sub­ject of in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny af­ter sev­eral se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents.

A pub­lic rally in Septem­ber this year re­sulted in both State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments vow­ing to have the road up­graded.

The Townsville Bul­letin yes­ter­day re­ported claims by Her­bert MP Peter Lind­say that the cost for the up­grade could blow out by $15 mil­lion.

He added Main Roads had failed to sub­mit fund­ing costs on sched­ule, which would pro­long the start date of the project.

But Thuringowa MP Craig Wal­lace yes­ter­day hit back at the claims, la­belling them a ‘smoke­screen’.

‘‘I hope Mr Lind­say is not us­ing this as a smoke­screen to get out of his prom­ise, both writ­ten and ver­bal, to se­cure the funds for the up­grade,’’ Mr Wal­lace said.

‘‘I give a warn­ing to Mr Lind­say if this is not com­mit­ted I will make his life hell un­til the funds come through.’’

But Mr Lind­say said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to fund­ing the road and wanted the project to go ahead as soon as pos­si­ble.

‘‘I have ex­pressed my re­solve to the com­mu­nity that I am de­ter­mined to get the money so there is no weasel­ing out,’’ Mr Lind­say said.

‘‘My beef is the cost of the road has blown out from $30 mil­lion to about $40 to $45 mil­lion.’’

Mr Lind­say said a fund­ing es­ti­mate from Main Roads was due in by De­cem­ber this year and the State had failed to ‘hon­our that com­mit­ment’.

But Mr Wal­lace said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needed to fund the road so works can go ahead.

‘‘Mr Lind­say has com­mit­ted in Septem­ber at least $40 mil­lion for the project, I’ve got that in writ­ing,’’ Mr Wal­lace said.

‘‘Where is the $40 mil­lion? Is he now say­ing he can’t de­liver those funds?’’

Mr Wal­lace said the claim of a fund­ing blowout was un­war­ranted.

‘‘How can it blow out when t h e r e w a s n o bud­get?’’ he said.

‘‘There has been no costs given and the cost­ings won’t be known un­til the end of Jan­uary.’’

Mr Wal­lace de­nied the State had stalled the project by not hav­ing fund­ing costs sub­mit­ted by the end o f t h e y e a r a s w a s promised.

‘‘We’re not stalling, we’ve bought for­ward the de­sign, as agreed with his (Mr Lind­say’s) gov­ern­ment, the cost­ings are on time as agreed.

‘‘We’ve bought for­ward the works by putting in t h e l i g h t s a h e a d o f sched­ule.

‘‘(We’ve worked) with Mr Lind­say’s gov­ern­ment to draw up the plans and they will be fin­ished by the mid­dle to end of Jan­uary and given to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment,’’ he said.

‘‘If they could com­mit now we could get a con­struc­tion com­pany in im­me­di­ately so we could start work as soon as the funds come through.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.