TWU state secretary Hughie Williams promised union backing for the campaign to fix the Matilda intersection.
TWU state secretary Hughie Williams promised union backing for the campaign to fix the Matilda intersection. Renee Pilcher

TWU's Matilda highway threat

THE Transport Workers Union has threatened to blockade the Bruce Highway’s Matilda intersection in a major road safety demonstration intended to force Federal Government action on the issue.

Long term road safety advocate and TWU state secretary Hughie Williams yesterday said that a blockade “for three or four hours” would be one desperate measure to focus new attention on the intersection.

Mr Williams has now visited the Matilda site three times in recent weeks, at the behest of truck driving safety crusaders Brendan Blatchly and Michael Hogg.

However, despite growing support on the issue, one current affairs website effectively accused him of betraying the ALP by joining the campaign.

“IT’S a death-trap. That’s the only way I can describe it,” Transport Workers Union state secretary Hughie Williams said of the Matilda intersection yesterday.

Commenting on an earlier comment on ABC Radio that a truckies’ blockade was one option which would be considered if all else failed, Mr Williams said he had been told of too many deaths and hundreds of injuries in vehicle smashes at the intersection, where the Matilda truckstop driveway enters the highway, opposite Tandur Road.

Mr Williams’ third recent visit on Wednesday attracted the support of about 50 people, including TWU officials, Kybong and Chatsworth residents and local politicians.

“It’s another death waiting to happen.

“Everyone’s talking about the by-pass, but that will be years, two to five years away.

“In the meantime they have to do something to stop more people from being killed.

“No truck driver wants to be involved in a fatality, no matter whose fault it may be said to be.

“If a truck driver runs over a family sedan and kills the occupants, that driver will have to live with that for the rest of his life, if he isn’t killed too.

“The people who designed that intersection need to go back to the drawing board and start again,” he said.

“I know a roundabout would slow the traffic and so would lights, but so what?

“They’ve slowed the speed to 80kmh. They can slow it some more.

“A roundabout would be a cheap fix and would be a big improvement on the cost of deaths and injuries on our roads,” Mr Williams said yesterday.

However, one national website did not see it that way, apparently taking offence that the rank-and-file campaign by truckies had now been joined by Gympie MP David Gibson and Gympie’s Wide Bay federal representative, Warren Truss.

The Crikey website yesterday used the expression “union dinosaur” to describe Mr Williams, who helped create the contemporary Queensland Labor Party from a “cricket team” in apparently permanent Opposition, prior to the election of the Goss Labor Government.

The website appeared to take offence at Mr William’s support for a Matilda upgrade, while Labor is fighting to retain office in Canberra.

It accused him of “showing his senility by boosting (Mr Truss)” whom it accused of refusing to upgrade the road in 2005.

The website also referred to Mr Gibson as “Liberal Party State MP,” despite the fact that Mr Gibson is a member of the LNP who came from the National Party side.

Gympie Times


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