‘Roads resemble goat tracks’: Last gets dirty on local roads
THE RECENT announcement of $15 million of funding to seal Bowen Development Rd is "better than nothing", but will do little to fix roads resembling "goat tracks", according to Member for Burdekin Dale Last.
Last week, Mr Last called for the upgrade of roads in the Bowen Basin, and has now highlighted three roads for upgrades under the government's commitment to seal regional roads.
Mr Last called for $100 million from the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund (RCIF) to be spent on roads that serviced the area that generated income for the State including mining royalties.
Mr Last said he supported calls to upgrade Bowen Developmental Road, and the recent announcement that $15 million would be spent on sealing the road was "better than nothing".
"I agree with Paul McLaughlin and Mayor Wilcox that $15 Million toward the Bowen Developmental Road is better than nothing and I have supported their calls to upgrade that road in parliament," he said.
"The fact remains that the fastest route to the Carmichael Mine will remain unsealed in large sections and that $15 million is a pittance in comparison to the royalties that will be generated from that mine alone, let alone other mines in the Bowen Basin.
"The current government wants us to be eternally grateful for the crumbs they dish out but I will continue to fight for our fair share of the pie."
Mr Last said aside from the Bowen Development Road, the May Downs Road and the Clermont-Alpha Road should all be on the list to receive funding.
"In the heart of Queensland's mining industry, we have the Bowen Basin which has roads that resemble goat tracks," he said.
"No one can justify why literally billions of dollars of royalties are siphoned out of that area, but the roads are either dangerous or the roads are just plain dirt.
"I was asked why I was calling for those funds to be dedicated to roads and the answer is simple; because those roads are dangerous."
Mr Last said that while some people, including Ministers, targeted him for "standing up" for his community, there was no chance his advocacy would be halted.
"If Minister Bailey wants to brag on twitter about spending $100 Million on sealing dirt roads then I will go into bat for my electorate again because we deserve a return on all the money we generate for the government."
"I won't stand by and let the current government spend all the money in the South East."
Mr Last said he had been asked why the state government was not already putting money toward fixing roads in the Bowen Basin, given the royalties generated.
"My response to that is simple. They should be but they obviously aren't," he said.
"It's my job is to stand up for my electorate and make sure we get our fair slice of the pie. If that ruffles a few feathers I am not in the slightest bit worried, as long as the job gets done.
"If the government wants me to shut up about roads, all they need to do is stop talking and actually fix them."