Bruce to Llew: ’Get hwy funds from Feds and I’ll back you’

WIDE Bay MP Llew O'Brien has accused the Queensland Government of a "lack of foresight, responsibility and regard for road safety" when it comes to the proposed two-lane bypass of Tiaro.

But Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders has hit back, saying he is willing to support a four-lane divided highway - if Mr O'Brien can convince the Federal Government to provide more funding for the project.

Mr O'Brien was expected to endorse the $107 million two-lane project in a joint statement with Mr Saunders and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack this week.

But on Thursday night, Mr O'Brien sensationally broke ranks with the LNP, refusing to endorse a design he says replicates the type of road that is "currently killing Queenslanders".

 

The proposed press release speaking in favour of the Tiaro bypass.
The proposed press release speaking in favour of the Tiaro bypass.

"From an economic perspective there will be a minor benefit for the region, but the current two-lane design with no dividing barrier doesn't meet the highest possible road safety design standards and will present a high risk to motorists from the day that it is opened," he said.

"This road also does not meet community expectations.

"A four-lane divided highway with a concrete barrier between opposing directions of high-speed traffic would ensure the highest possible standards in road design and keep all road users safe from deadly high impact head-on collisions."

The Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads sought feedback from the Tiaro community about the possibility of bypassing Tiaro and established a working group with community representatives.

However, Mr O'Brien said the community consultation was inadequate.

"I will be working with the Tiaro community to ensure their voices are heard and the two-lane bypass does not end up as a death trap," Mr O'Brien said.

"I conveyed my concerns to the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and he responded confirming that the Queensland Government was responsible for preparing the two-lane proposal."

Mr McCormack's letter notes that the State Government assessed the four-lane option, but decided against it on the grounds it was too expensive.

"It's now up to the State Government to reveal these costings and indicate whether lives or costs should come first," Mr O'Brien said.

"If the Queensland Government agrees with my assessment that the two-lane proposal is fatally flawed then they should immediately abandon it and bring forward a plan for four lanes."

Mr Saunders believes the two-lane design will be safer for Tiaro residents and keep the town safer from floods.

But he said he would back Mr O'Brien if he was successful in fighting for the extra funding.

"So far this project is only in design work.

"It's up to him to get extra funding from the Federal Government if he can."
Mr Saunders said he had been a supporter of the bypass since he had been elected.

A spokesman from Mr McCormack's office said he remained supportive of the two-lane bypass.