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Swan stands by $120m vow to fix highway

Countless sections of roadworks dot the Peak Downs Hwy, causing frustration for motorists, many of whom are in a rush to get to or from work west of the range.
Countless sections of roadworks dot the Peak Downs Hwy, causing frustration for motorists, many of whom are in a rush to get to or from work west of the range. Peter Holt

MUCH-NEEDED funding to upgrade the Peak Downs Hwy will be delivered, despite claims the money will not come to light, said a spokesman for Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Mr Swan's office yesterday confirmed to the Daily Mercury that $120 million to complete safety works on the highway would be allocated.

The spokesman said highway repair funds were included in the budget.

George Christensen.
George Christensen. Lee Constable

However, Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said a shortfall in mining tax revenue would have an impact on promised projects.

"The mining tax is hardly raising a cent, so billions of dollars in spending, including the promised upgrade of the Peak Downs Hwy, will go unfunded," Mr Christensen said.

"The Gillard Labor government has repeatedly failed to confirm the Peak Downs Hwy upgrade will go ahead and at one stage threatened to pull the funding if the Queensland Government raised royalties (which they did).

"On one hand Labor was trying to buy votes with cash splashes, and on the other they were trying to create the illusion of a surplus. They failed on both accounts and, unfortunately, the resource regions are collateral damage as vital infrastructure needs go unfunded."

Road Accident Action Group safety co-ordinator Graeme Ransley said he hoped the upgrades would go ahead.

"We're concerned about the shortfall of the mining tax and if that will have an effect on the Eton Range," Mr Ransley said.

"We'll be seriously disappointed if this is the case."

Mr Ransley said each time the highway was closed everyone suffered.

"Every time the road is closed for a long period of time thousands of people are held up," he said.

"There are impacts to people's revenue and economic factors."

 

PETITION

 

IT'S been a year since Steven Corcoran watched his friend and fellow truck driver David Barrett die.

Mr Barrett was killed in a crash on the Bruce Hwy near Ilbilbie, south of Mackay, on February 15 last year.

Saddened by seeing his friend die, Mr Corcoran launched a petition calling on the Federal Government to introduce a danger money allowance for truck drivers. After 186 days and 3000 signatures, his petition has been presented to and accepted by the government.

"The petitions committee in Canberra, in Parliament House, found it to be valid and it's going to be tabled in the House of Representative somewhere between March 12 and 21," Mr Corcoran said. "Federal MP Burt ven Manen presented it. I got signatures Australia-wide."

Mr Corcoran said the progress he had made with the petition was a big win.

"It's a victory for those who lost their lives," he said.

Topics:  peak downs hwy, wayne swan




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