I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone in Wide Bay for a safe and joyous Christmas and New Year.
Christmas is a time for celebration, a time for giving, rather than a time focused just on gift exchanges. The Christmas spirit is in the time we spend with family, friends, and those we care about. It’s the time you spend thinking about others, a time to forgive, and to reflect on what is truly important in your life, and in your wider community.
And while you are tucking into your Christmas lunch, spare a thought for those who are alone at Christmas, or who are working, or volunteering their time to make everyone else’s Christmas a safe and happy one. Spare a thought for the health and aged care workers, the emergency services personnel, the service station attendants, and all the other essential workers who are unable to spend Christmas Day with their loved ones.
2022 has been a tumultuous year for many in Wide Bay. Damaging floods in the first half of the year caused loss of life, stock, and property, with many individuals, businesses, and community organisations still struggling to repair and rectify damages and return to their normal activities.
Wide Bay residents will be aware of the numerous road works in the region throughout the year, as several projects funded by the former Coalition Government are undertaken. More than $6 million was invested in replacing and upgrading bridges in Gympie and Noosa, and more than $82 million in additional lanes and floodproofing of Saltwater Creek on the Bruce Highway.
Work on the Gympie Bypass is forging ahead. 2022 saw significant progress on Section D, the $800 million four lane 26 Kilometre realignment of the Bruce Highway between Cooroy and Curra which is set to open in mid-2024.
While the Albanese Government has confirmed that they will honour the $268.8 million funding the former Coalition Government allocated for the Tiaro Bypass, there is a disconnect between what the State and Federal Governments are telling us about its timeline, and I have requested the release of the funding profile that will provide start and finish dates.
Going into 2023, I will continue to focus on working with the regional community to advocate for the new and improved services and infrastructure we need in Wide Bay.
Please drive safely and take extra care on the roads throughout the holiday period.