Hansard 10.33 22/03/2021 Federation Chamber
Mr LLEW O’BRIEN (Wide Bay—Deputy Speaker) (10:33):
When it comes to the highway north of Gympie, all levels of government need to start taking it seriously.
From Melbourne to Gympie, motorists and their passengers travel on a four-lane safe national highway.
Now that the final stage of the four-lane upgrade from Cooroy to Curra is underway, the state government and the federal government must accept that lives on our national highway north of Gympie are just as important as those south.
We do not want this section of highway constructed at half the standard of what already exists from Melbourne to Gympie.
The Tiaro bypass will be just two lanes if it goes ahead as planned. That is half the road space that the southern states have for a similar amount of traffic and, in some cases, less traffic.
With around 10,000 vehicle movements each day between Gympie and Maryborough, the Queensland government’s proposed two-lane Tiaro Bypass will be less safe and lacks vision for the future.
Once you lose a loved one to a motor vehicle crash, they are gone forever.
If the state government won’t listen to me, maybe they will listen to our community.
For a safer road, a four-lane divided Tiaro Bypass, I ask Wide Bay residents to sign the petition on my website. In the few days that the petition has been alive, more than 600 people have signed.
Wide Bay has spoken. Its people are saying our lives on our section of the Bruce Highway are just as important as those south, those in New South Wales and Victoria.
The community wants a Bruce Highway that is safe to travel on, a highway that will allow Maryborough and Tiaro to grow.
But the Queensland government and the minister do not think we deserve this standard of highway. The minister says there is no issue with gridlock or traffic queues, and, in his opinion, there is no need for four lanes for decades to come.
Anyone who uses this road regularly understands that this is simply not true. Two lanes won’t meet existing demands. A two-lane road won’t accommodate the growth of industry, manufacturing and tourism, and it will put road users at risk. Any potential industry or future industry based in Tiaro requires a four-lane Tiaro Bypass.
The federal government has clearly stated that if the Queensland government puts forward a plan, it will consider it seriously.
So I ask both the state transport minister Mark Bailey and the federal minister Michael McCormack to please work together to bring forward a plan to four-lane the Tiaro Bypass.