Gympie Regional Council’s Ian Petersen and Mayor Ron Dyne unite to get the highway upgraded.
Gympie Regional Council’s Ian Petersen and Mayor Ron Dyne unite to get the highway upgraded. Craig Warhurst

Bruce Hwy upgrade plan examined

GYMPIE Region councillors want a review of the State Government's new 20-year plan for upgrading the Bruce Hwy from Brisbane to Cairns.

Mayor Ron Dyne and Planning and Development Committee chairman Ian Petersen both called for the highway plan to be rescheduled to get the Gympie by-pass brought forward, at least to the Tin Can Bay Rd.

And the state Opposition described the 20-year Infrastructure Plan, which includes the highway, as “worthless” and “a pathetic attempt at political spin”.

Gympie MP David Gibson said the document would be as “useful as toilet paper”, and seemed to have extended the timeframe for the upgrade and by-pass.

“The section from Cooroy to Curra is recognised as the most dangerous stretch of highway in Australia and this Government says that we don't need to fix it for another 11 to 20 years,” he said.

Cr Dyne said he was “disappointed” that the C and D sections of the upgrade, from Traveston Rd to Curra, were set down now for construction in 11 to 20 years.

They were more important than more southern sections because they would flood-proof a section of highway which can be cut for up to a week by Mary River flooding.

The state government released its Regionalisation Strategy, Queensland Infrastructure Plan and 20 Year Masterplan for the Bruce Highway, all on Tuesday.

Opposition leader Jeff Seeney said it was only a “wish list” without federal funding to make it happen.

Premier Anna Bligh said the plan would see the highway upgraded to four lanes from Caboolture to Bundaberg and to six lanes for the last leg of Gympie's link to Brisbane.

The Government also announced public consultation on the plans, to give Queenslanders a chance to have their say on their likes and dislikes about the plans.

“There's not a lot about Gympie in it,” Cr Dyne said of the plans.

“There is some mention of further developing our industrial capacity,” he said, adding though that much of the emphasis seemed to be on Bundaberg and Maryborough.

Cr Petersen said the council urgently needed more clarity on plans it would have to fit in with.

“We're currently doing a town plan and when we plan industrial, commercial and residential areas, that has to fit in with the highway and its access.

“Some industries need highway access and other land uses do not.”

He called for the Government to extend the section from Traveston Rd north to at least flood-proof Gympie's southern link.

“My only concern in relation to the Bruce Hwy is that the Cooroy to Curra bypass seems to be slipping out all the time,” he said.

Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said Labor was exceeding its Opposition critics' performance when they were part of the Howard Government.

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