THE federal government has been urged to “stand up and be counted” by coming good on prior promises to contribute funds to the Mt Lindesay Rd project.
Despite funds being kicked in by local and state government, the federal government is yet to stump up any cash to revive the hazardous stretch between Legume and Woodenbong.
Both Tenterfield Shire Council and Southern Downs Regional Council have backed a push by the Legume to Woodenbong Road Alliance to seek a commitment from the federal government.
Following a resolution at the recent Alliance meeting, a formal communique was sent to Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
Southern Downs Regional Councillor and Alliance Chairperson, Neil Meiklejohn, reminded Mr Joyce of his 2013 election comment where he highlighted the importance of the project.
“I have a wish list and this is number one or number two,” Mr Joyce said in August 2013 while touring the Mt Lindesay Rd.
The then shadow parliamentary secretary for roads and regional transport and now Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, didn’t mince his words when he visited the area with Mr Joyce on the same tour.
“We’ve driven it three times in 24 hours – its s***house.
“I’ve travelled a lot of roads and for the importance of this one being a link road – it is by far the worst I’ve driven on,” Mr Chester said.
Cr Meiklejohn said the communique was a way to remind the pair of prior support.
“[The communique] is to reiterate the importance of this road issue, and to get it on the agenda for a commitment of funding during the current federal election campaign,” he said.
“Funding in the order of $24 million is urgently needed from the federal government to bring the Legume to Woodenbong section of the road up to the required safety standards for use by heavy transport and the travelling public.
“Since 2014/2015, funding of around $5.35 million has been sourced for various capital works projects from both Queensland and NSW state and local governments, but there has been a resounding absence of any funding whatsoever from the federal government.
“The upgrade of the Legume to Woodenbong section of Mt Lindesay Road offers enormous benefits for this northern growth corridor.”
Tenterfield Shire mayor Peter Petty, Deputy Chairperson of the Legume to Woodenbong Road Alliance, strongly endorsed Cr Meiklejohn’s comments.
“This road is of utmost importance for the safe transport of freight and for the development of tourism in the northern reaches of our shire,” he said.
“The state government has provided much of the funding so far and now it’s the fed’s turn to stand up and be counted,” Cr Petty said.
Mr Joyce will visit Tenterfield on Thursday where he’s expected to further discuss the road and prospective funding.