'No integrity': Tiaro bypass war turns ugly
STATE Transport and Roads Minister Mark Bailey has launched a stinging attack on Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, accusing the former police officer of having "no integrity".
It comes after Mr O'Brien again rejected a two-lane Tiaro bypass, making an impassioned speech in federal parliament this week calling for four lanes with a concrete divide.
Mr Bailey said he had contacted Mr O'Brien personally to tell him the south and north lanes of the new $107 million bypass would be divided.
Mr Bailey said he was "very disappointed" in Mr O'Brien's comments.
"He knows, because I told him, that there will be physical separation between the north and south lanes of the new Tiaro bypass, so no risk of there being any head-on crashes whatsoever," he said.
"A very low act by, sadly, an MP with no integrity."
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But Mr O'Brien hit back on Tuesday, saying Mr Bailey should play the ball, not the man.
He stood by his comments, saying the proposed bypass was "woefully inadequate and unsafe".
"The only plans I have seen are for a killer road," he said.
Mr O'Brien said four lanes remained the safest option and while Mr Bailey had spoken about a concrete barrier, it later became unclear whether that was the final proposal.
"It's better than no barrier, but it's not what I want," he said.
"It would be better in terms of head-on collisions."
Mr O'Brien said he had spoken with Mr Bailey about the possibility of costing a four-lane highway and he had considered their conversations to be productive.
He was surprised by the personal attack, he said.
"He's trying to play the man, not the ball," Mr O'Brien said.
"The ball in this instance is road safety."
Mr O'Brien said it was important the road was built to the highest possible standards.
"I've knocked on too many doors to tell people their loved ones have been killed," he said.
"I've seen too many people die in traffic crashes to lower this debate to the level he's trying to take it to.
"I'm not going to back down."