CQ grazier hails LNP's matching pledge to fix Stanage Bay Rd
FOR his entire lifetime, Stanage Bay Road has been a problem for fourth generation grazier Lawson Geddes and his family, but thankfully that's all set to change.
Irrespective of which major party forms government after the federal election, bulldozers will be put to work upgrading the road which provides a vital transport the farmers, tourists, fisherman and the military at Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.
Following Livingstone Shire's mayor Bill Ludwig's lobbying both sides of politics in Canberra to save the shire's rate payers a hefty road bill, Labor's Capricornia candidate Russell Robertson committed $21.6 million for stage one of the Stanage Bay Road upgrade in April, which was matched yesterday by the Federal Government, thanks to the efforts of Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.
Mr Geddes, 39, whose family ran 2,500 cattle on their property situated 66km down Stanage Bay Rd, applauded the efforts of the government and Agforce to make the upgrade a reality.
"My family travel the road all the time and the amount of traffic on it now is getting beyond a joke," Mr Geddes said.
"It will mean we can get trucks up and down the road during wet weather."
As the road deteriorated, Mr Geddes said it increased the damage done to their vehicles and lead to a blow out in travel times.
"Travelling in our trucks, a trip that takes an hour, it turns it into a two-and-a-half hour trip when it's bad. That takes a lot out of your day," he said.
While locals like Mr Geddes who were familiar with the road "take it steady" on the road, he was concerned about the safety of other road users like tourists or fisherman.
Standing with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in Parkhurst yesterday, Ms Landry said she had met with local landholders, Livingstone Shire Council, and Defence listened, and now delivered a $21.6 million commitment which would deliver jobs and increase safety for locals and travellers alike.
"Stanage Bay Road has a reputation across the region as being pretty terrible at times, with local graziers, fisherman, and travellers often having to contend with terrible corrugations, rocks, and holes, wreaking havoc with motorists and their vehicles," Ms Landry said.
"This is only made worse when each year the military travel to Shoalwater Bay for training exercises with numerous heavy convoys damaging the road further.
"The state of Stanage Bay Rd has created frustration for all road users in the past but I believe with this funding commitment we can get a far more resilient and passable road surface, increasing safety for all motorists."
Mr McCormack heaped praise on Ms Landry's dogged approach towards getting a fair share for Capricornia.
"Michelle's tenacity and care for her fellow Central Queenslander has delivered this commitment and I'm proud to stand here with her today to help her deliver it." Mr McCormack said.
Cr Ludwig said he was both delighted and relieved to now have a joint commitment from both major parties in regard to Stage One of major upgrades to Stanage Bay Road.
"This is a critical access route for Australian Defence Forces (ADF), our primary producers, Stanage Bay Township and Emergency Services," Cr Ludwig said.
"I would like to commend Michelle Landry MP on securing this is matching investment in the future for both our community and ADF.
"It is equally important to also recognise and acknowledge the efforts of Labor candidate Russell Robertson in securing the commitment from Labor."
The Livingstone mayor commended both sides of politics saying there should always be bi-partisan support for projects like Stanage Bay Road upgrades given the level of importance both to the community and the national interest
"Making these roads safe and 'fit for purpose' will also enhance and create future opportunities to progressively build a stronger and more vibrant tourism industry at Stanage Bay Township," he said.
"Our community can now focus on negotiating a fair annual contribution from ADF to the maintenance and whole of life costs of all the Shoalwater Bay major access routes under Council control.
"Detailed cost estimates put annual maintenance and appropriate levels of gravel re-sheeting to keep these roads up to the required standards for military convoy use at between $1.4M to $1.8M.
"This figure aligns closely with Livingstone Shire's estimated annual loss of rates revenue with ADF now occupying almost one third of Councils land mass."