Small towns under threat from LNP’s highway plan

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has demanded the LNP come clean on whether small towns will be bypassed under their highway upgrade plan.

The LNP’s proposal to upgrade the Bruce Highway could accelerate plans to bypass towns like Ingham and Cardwell, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

While welcoming the announcement to upgrade the highway, Mr Dametto said the LNP needed to level with small businesses in Hinchinbrook who relied heavily on drive-through traffic as to whether they would be bypassed under the $33 billion proposal.

“I’m the first person to celebrate money being spent on upgrading the Bruce, but my biggest concern is for our small regional towns like Ingham and Cardwell that may be adversely effected by these plans. Previously, I fought fiercely against the State Labor Government’s proposed plans to bypass Ingham. Our small towns depend on the ability for traffic to pass through them via the Bruce Highway,” he said.

“If both Labor and the LNP are hellbent on bypassing our regional towns for better ‘big city’ connectivity, we need to make sure they are willing to support us by building the right infrastructure to help grow our tourism products. We need major investment designed to entice travellers to turn off the highway.”

Mr Dametto also took issue with $50 million that would be allocated for a study before undertaking the project, saying it was a “waste of time”.

“We spend more money on studies in Queensland than anywhere across the country and now under the LNP’s plan, we’re about to spend a staggering $50 million on another study to find out whether or not this is a good idea,” he said.

“I’m not going to stand in the way of progress but we can’t just keeping throwing money hand over fist on more studies. This sounds like another case of white-collar welfare.

“If I was a betting man, I’d put money on the Brisbane to Gold Coast M1 Highway upgrade being completed before this study done.”

Mr Dametto said regardless of what the Brisbane major parties had in store for a potential bypass, he had “worked tirelessly” over the last three years as the local Member to lobby for tourism-enabling infrastructure.

“Our greatest natural asset lies just offshore with our picture-perfect islands and the Great Barrier Reef. With the right marine infrastructure, the Hinchinbrook electorate could realise its full tourism potential.”

Nick Dametto MP