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Thursday, 19 October 2006
Page: 158

Mr NEVILLE (1:01 PM) —I would like to speak today for a short time on roads and to open my contribution by saying how happy and satisfied I am with the Commonwealth government and state governments’ equal contributions of $3 million to a road known as the Callemondah overpass in Gladstone in my electorate. Gladstone is a bustling industrial city and one of its bigger problems—and it is unfair to try to burden a rate base of 28,000 people with this problem—is to keep up with arterial roads. Gladstone exports 12 per cent of Australia’s exports by volume, and forcing the city to carry that infrastructure burden is quite unfair.

This road, which goes from Red Rover Road to Don Young Drive, goes across three train lines. It is an 850-metre bridge. One of those three train lines is the main north-coast line. Also we have there the Moura line and the Callemondah marshalling yard line. Before these works, heavy vehicles could wait up to 20 minutes to get across this triple crossing and at times some B-doubles practised the very dangerous stunt of weaving in and out of the boom gates. Of course that was okay if you had slow freight trains coming, but if the tilt train came racing around the corner at 100 kilometres an hour then you were in big trouble. So it took a great load off my mind to see this bridge opened recently by the then transport minister, the member for Wide Bay, the Hon. Warren Truss.

This comes as part of the Commonwealth’s concentration on very important roads in Gladstone. One of them is the port access road, known as route D, which was funded with $7½ million by the Commonwealth. We have also seen the widening of Landing Road and the work on another road to bring fuels and chemicals into the city by another route called the Calliope River road. We also have under consideration at present yet another one called Kirkwood Road. These are all important in the facilitation of industry and good traffic movement in Gladstone. I support all of them. I think they are all about safety and the civic amenity for people who live in the Gladstone area.

I also want to highlight today the need for another one of these roads. Over recent times I have concentrated a lot on getting the entry points into cities and towns along highways brought up to scratch. It is often in that 80 kilometre area as you come into a city that you have a lot of accidents. We have recently opened at Apple Tree Creek where the Isis and Bruce highways meet an $8 million overpass totally funded by the Commonwealth. That overpass separates the traffic on those two highways and will make that a much safer intersection. People who have travelled the Bruce Highway would remember that. There were a lot of near misses on the old intersection of that one. We have also improved the entry into the town of Miriam Vale, which is halfway between Bundaberg and Gladstone on the Bruce Highway. That was a $2 million job. It too made a much safer and better cambered road into the main street of Miriam Vale.

I would like to make a plea in this speech today that the Commonwealth, under its AusLink and national highway responsibilities, look at a new southern entry into the town of Gin Gin, also in my electorate. In this particular instance, the trucks come over a hill, go down the hill and then do a hard left or right turn into the main street of Gin Gin. Only recently two men were tragically killed there. On another occasion a bus overturned there, killing one of the passengers. This is another dangerous one. It does not come under the black spots program because it is on the Bruce Highway. I am meeting today with the minister on this particular issue. I think it is important to highlight in the parliament the need for us to be ever-vigilant, especially on the national highways, in making sure that the entries to these cities, where perhaps the attention factor of drivers has been reduced, remains the focus of our safety concerns.

Question agreed to.