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Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Page: 6185

Mr LINDSAY (4:35 PM) —I have got the reverse story to the member for Hunter’s story. I can proudly stand here and say that about a decade ago I began a furious fight to get the new bypass for Townsville underway, and the first section of that was the building of the Douglas arterial road. There was a furious fight with the state government in trying to get matching funding. Ultimately our community won that. It was a road of national importance, so it attracted fifty-fifty support from the state. We won that fight and we got that road opened and the community really appreciated the difference it made, because it had a BCR of something like 13 and it cut travel time by up to 20 minutes between the two points.

In 2004 I saw the need to extend that road to connect to the Bruce Highway in the northern beaches, and that was going to be the Townsville ring-road. We fought for that money and we got that money and construction commenced on the Townsville ring-road; that has now been completed. That created a bypass for heavy vehicles around the city of Townsville. It also created a very quick link from the northern beaches to the hospital, to the university and to Lavarack Barracks for the Army. That will see very significant development occurring in the northern beaches area of the city. We could see then, with the connection of the ring-road to the Douglas arterial, that the Douglas arterial would not cope and that it had to be extended to four lanes. We proceeded to fight to get the money for the four-laning. That was another $55 million. In the budget before last, the government announced that $55 million would be provided and that we could get on with the four-laning of the Douglas arterial. That has not really proceeded. It was reannounced in this year’s budget and a small amount of that $55 million was provided, probably for design work. But I am puzzled: we have known about this and Queensland Main Roads have known about this for some years, and I am really surprised that the design work has not yet been done.

Of course, all of us want these shovel-ready projects, particularly the stimulus projects. We all want them to be stimulating the economy. But, unfortunately, this is a case where we are unable to get on with the job. The minister and I will work together on this one because we both want the same outcome. We want to see this project started. I would like to ask the minister whether he would have a look at the status of this particular project. When does he expect the project to commence? How can we speed it up? How can we get it going? It is very important for Townsville that we get on with the four-laning of the Douglas arterial. I thank the minister.