Ludwig: Panorama Dve project was high priority for Coast
LIVINGSTONE Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig has said the Panorama Dve project was one of the region's priority projects for more than two decades.
Stage two of the Northern Strategic Link Road - Panorama Dve (Yeppoon Western Bypass) last year received $15 million funding from the State Government's Royalties for Regions program.
The program has come under fire, with a report from the Queensland Audit Office identifying several projects which were funded despite not meeting assessment criteria.
The report identified Panorama Dve as one of these projects.
Cr Ludwig (pictured) said the report would not affect the project's construction.
"We've acquired nearly all the land corridors and we've started construction at the western end," he said.
"(The report is) an issue for the political parties to discuss.
"We read the criteria. We believed it was eligible. We applied for it and we were successful."
Cr Ludwig said the project had been part of council's critical infrastructure plan for more than 20 years.
He said it would allow a growing community of Drive-In Drive-Out mine workers to make it to work easier, as well as allowing those living in the northern suburbs to safely evacuate the area during emergencies, when the roads are often closed.
"It was an absolute must to have," Cr Ludwig said.
"I've got no idea why there's an argument about that.
"That was a northern growth corridor and identified there were substantive numbers of people working in the mines choosing to live in that growth corridor.
"It mightn't have been a high priority for Main Roads, but it was certainly a high priority for this council.
"The fact we got more than the allotted funding, we believe that was in support of the arguments we put forward as to why it was critical to the growth of the Capricorn Coast.
"We believed it ticked the boxes in a number of ways.
"We're just very pleased it was approved and is advancing well.
"The construction will commence on eastern side next year with a view to being completed hopefully by the end of 2017 or mid-2018."
Rockhampton Regional Mayor Margaret Strelow said she felt some "justification" in reading the report.
The region had just one successful application out of 28 they submitted.
"It was never a level playing field," she said.
"We tried and tried.
"We knew our projects were meeting the mark but were not being funded.
"I've been in politics a long time and I've never seen anything as blatant as that."