A WIN FOR GYMPIE: Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Gympie Times editor Shelley Strachan and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien celebrate the $800 million funding announcement for Section D.
A WIN FOR GYMPIE: Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Gympie Times editor Shelley Strachan and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien celebrate the $800 million funding announcement for Section D. Scott Kovacevic

Team work brings $1billion Gympie project forward 5 years

THE Gympie Times has been a vital thread in the Gympie region story since the first edition rolled off the press 150 years ago.

What an incredibly proud and momentous occasion it was yesterday, as editor of this small but wiry publication, when Acting PM Michael McCormack, Hinkler MP Keith Pitt and our very own Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien stood together on the side of the Bruce Hwy and pledged to fast-track the $800 million to finish the Gympie bypass.

 

Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Keith Pitt and Llew O'Brien announce $800 million funding for Section D.
Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Keith Pitt and Llew O'Brien announce $800 million funding for Section D. Scott Kovacevic

The State Government reconfirmed its commitment to putting up the other $200 million soon after.

With an estimated 30 deaths in eight years between Gympie and Maryborough it would not be out of line to suggest that bringing Section D forward by five years will save at least 30, probably more like 50 lives, many of them local sons, wives, husbands and daughters.

 

Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Shelley Strachan and Llew O'Brien celebrate $800 million funding for Section D.
Keith Pitt, Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Shelley Strachan and Llew O'Brien celebrate $800 million funding for Section D. Scott Kovacevic

I thank and congratulate Mr O'Brien, whose genuine passion on the issue of road trauma fuels his argument and impact where it counts - in Canberra.

Together we have proven what we can achieve if we work as a team - anything.

The Gympie Times' campaigns for this region over the years have been frequent, and frequently successful, but up until now, nothing has been so important.

 

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announces $800 million in funding has been granted to build the biggest and most expensive leg of the the Bruce Hwy bypass of Gympie.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announces $800 million in funding has been granted to build the biggest and most expensive leg of the the Bruce Hwy bypass of Gympie. Shelley Strachan

This is literally life and death.

Eliminating the spectre of danger and trauma from the highway in this region will be like removing a millstone from around our neck.

There will no doubt be a time of transition once the highway opens, especially for those businesses impacted by the loss of highway traffic, and those property owners impacted by the new highway corridor.

None of these people must be forgotten in that transition. All must be helped through.

In his address to the gathered media yesterday, Mr O'Brien thanked The Gympie Times, acknowledging our decades of campaigning. He also thanked the victims who had "dug really deep" to contribute to the dossier presented to PM Malcolm Turnbull.

"There will be people walking around in years to come who won't know that their life has been saved by this road - but it will have been," Mr O'Brien said.

Powerful words.

"I want to say that this achievement has been a team effort; The Gympie Times particularly has been campaigning for this upgrade for decades. I had the support of the last four editors from 1986, through to Shelley Strachan when I met with the Prime Minister."

Indeed he did, and what a wonderful result for this whole region. Bravo!

Gympie Times


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