Christmas message from Llew O’Brien
Christmas is a very special time of year when family and friends gather to reflect on the year that was and plan for the year ahead.
It is a time of peace and goodwill, when we remember the meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ and His message of love, hope and salvation.
We also keep in mind that Christmas can be a lonely time of year for some people, and difficult for anyone who has lost their job or has ill-health, so we keep an eye out for our neighbours and friends and consider whether there is anything we can do to help.
We also remember the people who are required to work throughout Christmas, the doctors, nurses and emergency services, who are always there to keep us safe.
At this time last year, many of us were glad to see the end of 2020 and we looked forward to 2021 with much hope and optimism.
This year has seen the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines which are an important tool to fight the health, economic and social impacts of the virus.
Australians have done incredibly well both in managing our way through the pandemic, and in taking up the vaccine, with more than 88% of our population now fully vaccinated, but we must also respect the rights of individuals.
It’s important to remember that some businesses have done it incredibly tough, with lockdowns and closed borders forcing them to shut down, and people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
After two years of the pandemic people want certainty and security and to be able to get on with their lives.
The hard work that we have all put in to keep ourselves and our communities safe needs to be recognized by governments as we enter 2022 and rebuild our economy to create new opportunities.
Looking back over the year we’ve had some big wins in Wide Bay with economic, infrastructure, and community projects either completed, underway, or committed to, that will help shape our region and create jobs for decades to come, and we have much to look forward to.
Here’s an overview of just some of what we’ve achieved by working together in Wide Bay.
The RNM projectile forging plant in Maryborough is now operational and will be officially opened next year. Supported by the Liberal and Nationals Government, the plant has strengthened Maryborough’s industrial base and created around 100 ongoing jobs.
Also in Maryborough the new $20.1 million overtaking lanes on the Bruce Highway at Tinana are approaching completion, and work on the $103 million upgrade between Maryborough and Torbanlea is progressing, creating 286 jobs and upon completion in 2023 will deliver a safer and less flood-prone stretch of highway.
The $780,000 expansion of the car park at Maryborough’s iconic Brolga Theatre has been completed, enabling more people to safely park their cars and enjoy live entertainment.
A $335.8 million four-lane Tiaro bypass will become a reality after the community rejected the initial two-lane proposal put forward by the Queensland Government. Knowing how long traffic queues will be through this section over the holiday period, it can’t come soon enough, it needs to be fast-tracked and prioritised to ensure people are safe on this dangerous section of the Bruce Highway.
2021 also saw the opening of the Australian Government’s Industry Training Hub at Maryborough, connecting secondary students in the Wide Bay region with local employment and training opportunities.
On K’gari (Fraser Island), we are contributing $466,000 to upgrade the jetty at Kingfisher Bay to improve access to the island for locals and visitors and assist with the safe transfer of freight.
In Gympie work is well underway on the$1 billion four-lane Gympie bypass from Woondum to Curra that, when finished in 2024, will ease congestion through Gympie and safely and efficiently move local motorists, tourists and freight along a 26km new corridor. This project is already delivering economic benefits with 576 jobs created during construction, which means more people spending more money in Gympie.
Gympie’s headspace was also upgraded this year to a full-service site through a new $4 million commitment from the Liberal and Nationals Government, so more young people can access programs to improve mental health.
A new processing line at Nolan Meats is now in operation which has created around 200 jobs in Gympie, enabling more people to establish career paths in the meat industry.
Amenities and conveniences at Goomeri Showgrounds will be upgraded through a $93,000 commitment, and $51,000 for new lights at Gympie Showgrounds will see more events being hosted.
At Langshaw, a $140,000 contribution towards the Hope Reins education and activity centre will assist in the delivery of personal development, mental wellbeing and horsemanship programs and will open in March 2022.
Murgon’s $1.5 million Creative Country Arts and Fossil Museum is taking shape and will open mid-2022. This landmark project will offer a new tourism attraction for Murgon, with an art gallery, fossil museum, art workshop, gift shop, and central prehistoric garden.
Also in Murgon, 2021 saw the delivery of my $450,000 election commitment to the Murgon RSL sub branch, providing veterans and their families a space of their own to access advocacy services and mental health and wellbeing programs.
Supported by a $2.55 million grant from the Liberal and Nationals Government, a new Peregian Beach Community House will open for use by local community groups in early 2022 and the expansion of the Digital Hub will enable more tech start-ups to be accommodated.
Local roads throughout Noosa will also be upgraded, with $1,995,622 to upgrade David Low Way at Peregian Beach, Tinbeerwah Road at Tinbeerwah, Eenie Creek Road at Sunshine Beach, Ely Street at Noosaville, Langura Street at Noosa Heads, and Sea Eagle Drive at Noosaville.
The magic at Sunshine Butterflies will continue to captivate the community, with a $135,000 commitment to improve access to the ‘Our Backyard’ social and recreational activity space.
A new mobile phone tower at Cootharaba is helping people stay connected as one of 18 that have been funded throughout Wide Bay, extending mobile phone coverage to more people since I was elected in 2016.
Beach safety this summer is also being improved at Double Island Point with a $15,000 contribution towards a new UHF repeater, antennas and solar panels.
If you’d like more information on the infrastructure and services that are being delivered in Wide Bay please visit my website https://llewobrien.com.au/coalition-wide-bay-achievements/
Wide Bay is a big electorate, filled with dedicated community, sporting and service groups whose volunteers make the lives of others easier and their local area an even better place to live. I pay tribute to each of them, so if you’re thinking of making a New Year’s resolution to help your community, volunteering is a great place to start.
As always, if you’re on the road this holiday season, please drive to the conditions and stay safe and alert.
I extend my best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas and a successful New Year.