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Monday, 22 September 2008
Page: 8183

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (6:42 PM) —I rise in the Main Committee to call on this federal government to speed up the funding for the very important Warrego Highway, particularly in the area between Toowoomba and Mitchell in western Queensland, in my electorate of Maranoa. This highway is the main arterial route between Brisbane and Darwin and it goes right through the Surat coal basin. We have seen unprecedented development in this resource area. Of course, the resources and the development of these resources are very important because of the revenue and the export income that they bring to this nation. But that process and that development have been slowed down because of the failure of the government to bring forward funding, as the coalition had promised prior to the last federal election.

I learnt only in the last few days that the Queensland Department of Main Roads has decided to reduce the speed limit on the section of the Warrego Highway west of Dulacca to 80 kilometres an hour. Previously this was up to 110 kilometres an hour. That is clearly an indication of the deterioration of this road that has occurred with the development of this coal seam and methane gas industry and the resulting increase in traffic. I am calling on this federal government. The minister must act because, if he does not, he is going to slow down the development of this coal seam and methane gas industry and the coal industry development. It is going to impact on our economy and it is going to impact on exports—and if there is one thing we need in this financial crisis it is to ensure that we have infrastructure spending in Australia. (Time expired)