Mayor keen to seal elu­sive Hann funds

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JOHN AN­DER­SEN john. an­der­sen@ news. com. au

FLIN­DERS Shire Mayor Greg Jones is hop­ing the State Gov­ern­ment can bring for­ward grant money for the seal­ing of the Hann High­way be­tween Hugh­en­den and Lynd Junction.

Cr Jones wants to lock in fund­ing for the seal­ing of the Hann and the last 35km of the Ara­mac to Tor­rens Creek road. He said the coun­cil would be con­tact­ing Mount Isa MP Rob­bie Kat­ter to see if he could con­vince State Trea­surer Curtis Pitt to loosen the purse strings. Cr Jones said money had been pulled on the Tor­res Creek road three times in the past af­ter prom­ises were made it would be sealed.

“There were changes of gov­ern­ment and the money was with­drawn. We don’t want that hap­pen­ing again,” he said.

Cr Jones said his coun­cil wanted some money made avail­able so that it could start pre­lim­i­nary works and keep em­ploy­ees in jobs.

He said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment White Pa­per on de­vel­op­ing North­ern Aus­tralia, re­leased ear­lier this month, was look­ing at fund­ing be­ing made avail­able in 2017.

“We would like to start now so that we can keep our staff in work,” Cr Jones said. He added he was happy that the Clon­curry di­vi­sion of the Main Roads Depart­ment would be su­per­vis­ing the road- build­ing projects when they came on­stream and not the Cairns of- fice, as is nor­mally the case. “Nor­mally Cairns su­per­vises these jobs, but this pro­ject has been given to Clon­curry,’’ he said.

“That suits us be­cause Clon- curry knows how to build roads in the dry trop­ics. When Cairns gets in­volved out here they try to im­pose wet trop­i­cal con­di­tions on road con­struc­tion. It blows the costs right out.’’

Cr Jones said the Flin­ders and Etheridge shires wanted to com­plete the work on the Hann. He said the two shires had enough ma­chin­ery be­tween them and it would mean more work for lo­cal peo­ple in both lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas.

“We don’t want out­side con­trac­tors com­ing in. Flin­ders and Etheridge can do this them­selves and keep their peo­ple in jobs,” he said.

“And we can do it a whole lot cheaper be­cause we know how to build roads out here.”

TRY­ING AGAIN: Greg Jones on the Hann High­way.

Alexis Tsipras.

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