House debates

Monday, 17 June 2013


Herbert Electorate: Townsville Bridges

10:08 pm

Photo of Ewen JonesEwen Jones (Herbert, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I have driven the Bruce Highway a number of times since moving to Townsville in 1994. In my days as an auctioneer and as a finance company representative I would always do between 60,000 and 80,000 kilometres per year. I got to know the roads but I never took any notice of what was really there. That is because they were always rubbish. There was no need to complain because every political party did the same thing—big promises, big numbers. But just like this government, very few actual projects were named and completed.

The thing that North Queenslanders want to see and what I have consistently said is that we want a project nominated with a start date and finish date. We are tired of the big numbers that governments roll out. We want outcomes. I was proud to be the candidate who stood up and made Blakey's Crossing an issue in the 2010 campaign. I was proud to say that we would fix it should we win government. I did my best to convince the then minister for regional development, the member for Hotham and fine North Melbourne supporter, Simon Crean, of the merits of this project but he declined.

Up stepped John Hathaway and Campbell Newman. They made the promise and they are delivering as we speak. The Mather Street roundabout has been altered to six lanes and with traffic lights. As soon as they finish the long awaited Blakey's Crossing will finally be fixed.

The residents of Townsville's northern beaches knew how important it was. The businesspeople of Bohle and Garbutt knew how important it was. The commuters to and from the northern beaches knew how important this was. They helped me make it an issue which got funding. My mantra that this would not be good enough in the south-east of our state was and is true.

I now highlight the next two areas which must be addressed for Townsville's future development. The lower Bohle Bridge is the link between the City of Townsville and our northern beach suburbs. My city is expanding this way and will continue to do so. The suburbs of Bushland Beach and North Shore have absolutely exploded. Cosgrove will soon follow. When we have flood events, the traffic just comes to a standstill. When I was the manager of Pickles Auctions at Bohle and the river was up, my operations manager John Hynes would sit at Geaneys Lane lights for about an hour or two and then go home. This would not be acceptable in Brisbane or the south-east corner and it should not acceptable to the people of Townsville either. Similarly, the Dalrymple Road causeway goes under in a sun shower. Collectively these two roads are the major access points for our northern and western suburbs.

The new suburb of Greater Ascot has been planned to offer a full range of housing options from the perfect first home with no work to do to the large family home. All the families who buy there want is to get to work on time like everyone else in the state. These areas are also entry points to our city from Cairns.

That our entry statements to our city sometimes say 'We are closed' is not the look that we, the people of Townsville, want to project. Townsville is a great city. We are a people who get things done. We are a people with a vision for the north of Australia. We just need the basic infrastructure to get to and from our work and we will provide for the rest of the country. We are a city with strong links to the west along the Flinders Highway to Mount Isa. We are the hub of North Queensland between Mackay to the south and Cairns to the north. We are the link for education and training services to all those areas as well as to our sister city of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea to the north. Our ties to Darwin are strengthening every day through education, defence and health services.

Townsville does this with little fanfare. We believe in getting the job done. We just need the basic infrastructure that other cities and regional centres take for granted. The Lower Bohle Bridge is a state bridge and the Dalrymple Road is a council crossing. Again, the people of Townsville do not care which is the owner. They do not care what share each must pay. What they want is to be treated the same as the rest of the state and the rest of the country. They want to see these two essential crossings to our city fixed. That is all. What I am doing here is highlighting the needs for my growing city. If we had a responsible government which did not waste billions on failed border protections we could have already had these projects fixed by now. The people of Townsville just want the basic infrastructure. The people of Townsville will do the rest.