‘Shocking’ spate of crashes shows need for fast highway fix
Fast-tracked and finished Bruce Highway upgrades are at the top of Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien's wish list for 2021 following a "shocking" spate of crashes to start the new year.
The safety fixes were one of several things Mr O'Brien said the region needed, joined by a reduced cost of living, job creation and improving services.
And, of course, securing a four-lane future in the region's north.
"There's been a shocking number of crashes on the Bruce Highway around these areas during the Christmas holidays, and I'd like to see these works fast tracked and completed as soon as possible," Mr O'Brien said.
"Some of these projects were announced years and years ago and the State Government should have finished them years ago.
"We need them done now.
"These crashes have reaffirmed my steadfast view that the State Government must bring forward a plan to four lane the Bruce Highway from Curra to Maryborough, engineered to the same safe standard that we see from Cooroy to Woondum, and that we will see from Woondum to Curra once the Section D project is finished.
"This needs to start right now with a four lane Tiaro bypass.
"Anything less comes at a high cost to every road user.
"Lives depend on it, the State Government needs to get moving on it and make the recommendation, and I'll take up the fight in Canberra."
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But even with a new hear and new horizon, there were still some lingering problems hanging around from a year most would be happy to have firmly in the rear-view mirror.
"There's no doubt that 2020 is a year that many are glad to see go.
"COVID-19 has been economically destructive, socially disruptive, and more than 900 Australians have lost their lives to the virus and more than 28,500 cases have been confirmed.
"Unfortunately the threat has not passed, and 2021 will test us all again as outbreaks will undoubtedly occur from this highly contagious virus."
The Nationals MP said how the governments managed these outbreaks and communities stuck to health advice would determine how well the country could protect itself from the economic and health damage wrought by COVID-19.
He said rolling out the vaccine was "the safest and most efficient way" to ensure the country's recovery and a top priority for the Federal Government, along with several other key benchmark goals.
"Reducing the cost of living, improving services and creating local jobs remain top priorities for myself and for the Liberal and National Government, and this is underpinned by investment in infrastructure that improves our region's competitiveness, productivity and amenity, such as the newly-opened Coondoo Creek Bridge that will help boost the Gympie and Cooloola Coast economy," Mr O'Brien said.
"My hope for 2021 is for the good health, safety and prosperity of everyone in Wide Bay, as we work towards our region's economic recovery from COVID-19, the drought, and bushfires felt throughout 2020."