Taxpayers at risk with two-lane Tiaro Bypass plan

April 27, 2021

Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien has questioned why the Queensland Government hasn’t put forward a plan for a four-lane Tiaro Bypass, saying the two-lane proposal will leave taxpayers paying twice for the project.

“It doesn’t make any sense, especially when the Queensland Government admits that a four-lane Tiaro bypass is needed because it has planned a four-lane corridor – but it will only initially build two lanes. 

“Taxpayers will end up paying twice for this section when the Government turns around in years to come and digs it up to put in extra lanes that should have been built in the first place. Why won’t they ensure the bypass is done right the first time?

Mr O’Brien said about 10,000 vehicles use this section of the Bruce Highway every date, so the inferior two-lane model proposed by the State Government shows a lack of foresight, responsibility and regard for road safety, as well as limiting the economic growth of Maryborough and Wide Bay. 

“If this section of the Bruce Highway was in New South Wales or Victoria, with the same level of traffic, it would already be four lanes – shouldn’t our section of the national highway be built to the same standard?”

The latest publicly available data on traffic movements along the National Highway was released by AusRAP in 2016, and showing around 7500 vehicles per day travelled on the Hume Highway between Goulburn and Yass in New South Wales, along a safe four-lane separated highway. 

The same data from 2016 indicates 9900 vehicles travelled between Gympie and Tiaro per day and the number of vehicles travelling between Tiaro and Childers was 8000 per day.

“These figures show substantially more traffic around the Tiaro area than around Yass, where the New South Wales State Government has identified the need for four lanes, yet the Queensland State Government says Tiaro will have to make do with two lanes for decades to come,” Mr O’Brien said.

“You can see all the added congestion currently caused by all the roadworks between Gympie and Maryborough which has knocked so many overtaking lanes out of action.  Imagine the chaos that will be caused along the bypass when it is added to in the future.

“It’s a greenfield site and like the Gympie bypass, the Tiaro bypass must be done properly with four lanes the first time.

“The Queensland Government’s two-lane plan fails road safety, fails economically, fails taxpayers and fails our region.”

Mr O’Brien urged people to sign the petition for a safer, four-lane Tiaro bypass, saying a four-lane bypass would enable the fast and efficient movement of freight and open up new business, manufacturing, agricultural and tourism opportunities in the region.

“I have already tabled a petition to the House of Representatives about this critically important bypass, and the Federal Government has made it clear that if the Queensland Government recommends a four-lane Tiaro bypass, the Federal Government will consider it,” he said.

“Now is it up to the Queensland Government to do its job and bring a four-lane Tiaro bypass plan forward, and I am asking for community support with this petition, to tell the Queensland Government to get the Tiaro bypass done right the first time with four lanes.”

State Member for Gympie Tony Perrett said the State Government had a duty of care to step up and deliver a safe, adequate road.

“For too long, people have lost their lives on this stretch of highway and it’s absolutely fanciful for Queensland Roads Minister Mark Bailey to suggest that it only needs to be two lanes,” Mr Perrett said.

“The Labor State Government can manipulate figures and tell us that two lanes will be good enough, but the truth is that the Minister is cutting corners and risking lives to suit the State Budget.

“Every life lost on the roads is a tragedy for families, friends and the community, and the Queensland State Government should do the right thing and put forward a four-lane plan.”

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