WHAT ABOUT THE FOUR LANE TIARO BYPASS?
A media release issued on Sunday by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King, heralded a so called $1.47 billion infrastructure allocation for Queensland in the upcoming 2022-23 Federal Budget.
But the release was silent on the four lane Tiaro bypass.
On 31 July 2021, the former Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce, wrote to the Queensland State Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey, confirming the Australian Government’s commitment of $268.61 million for the four lane Tiaro bypass. Barnaby wrote that Australian Government funding was available to deliver the four lane Tiaro bypass as soon as possible.
On 6 September 2021 Minister Bailey wrote back to Barnaby with a funding profile indicating major construction wouldn’t commence until 2024-25.
The longer this project is delayed the more it will cost, the longer it will take to construct, and the longer it will take for plans to fill in the four lane gaps from Curra where the four lane Gympie bypass will end, to Tiaro, and then from Tiaro to Maryborough – and the longer lives will be at risk on this dangerous section of the Bruce Highway.
Following the change of Government, on 6 June 2022 I wrote to Minister King seeking an assurance that funding allocated by the former Liberal and Nationals Government for the four lane Tiaro bypass would be honoured by the new Labor Government and asked for the project to proceed as soon as possible. To date I have not received a reply.
Everyone involved in the campaign will remember that our community had to fight to win funding for the four lane Tiaro bypass. The Queensland Minister said it wasn’t needed and Federal Labor said it was a waste of money.
The reality is that if the section of our national highway between Gympie and Maryborough was in New South Wales or Victoria, it would already be four lanes.
Labor’s upcoming Federal Budget will disappoint every road user in Wide Bay if it fails to allocate funding for the four lane Tiaro bypass.