MPs call out 'shocking' state of Burnett roads
RELIABLE roads are important for businesses to maintain their produce quality, but the current state of rural Queensland roads is shocking.
This is according to Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie after she did a tour of the South Burnett and North Burnett regions with Flynn member Ken O'Dowd and Nanango member Deb Frecklington on September 7.
"It's been absolutely shocking to drive hundreds of kilometres over the last couple of days right throughout the region and to see the state of the State funded roads," she said.
The tour of the Flynn electorate included a launch of a program to upgrade strategic road links from Munduberra to Jandowae.
The minister for regional services said it was important the Palaszczuk Government understood the need for regional Queensland areas to have reliable means of trucking produce, with the majority of the state's wealth coming out of mining and agriculture.
During their Burnett tour, they met produce owners whose products were often damaged due to the state of the roads.
"That means people need to travel safely and their produce needs to be able to arrive," she said.
The state of the roads means a loss of production and opportunities for the businesses.
"They are a means of getting our clean, green product out of the paddock and to the processing facility, the ports, and markets of the world," Ms McKenzie said.
Mr O'Dowd said he was working with Ms Frecklington on making use of the Burnett business' proximity to the Wellcamp airport and Toowoomba, gaining access to the premium prices in the Asian market.
"If we can get our produce from here to Wellcamp, it can be in Asia tomorrow morning," he said.
Ms Frecklington said the Palaszczuk Government has ripped the guts out of the regional roads fund, with around $400 million removed in the last term alone from the Wide Bay.
"We've seen nothing new, no new funding in this area, when you take such a large chunk out of the roads funding from the State Government, then you naturally see a downgrade in the roads," she said.
The Palaszczuk Government has taken $3 billion per year out of the State infrastructure budget, Ms Frecklington said.
"They've kept their money in the cross-river rail, whilst our produce is getting knocked around because of the state of our roads," she said.
Ms McKenzie said during their tour, they met with the Biggeden meatworks team who employ half the town and are expected by the State Government to fix their own entrance way onto the main highway.
"It's the State Government's job to make sure people can drive on the highway and turn into a road in a safe way, not his job," she said.