CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Frecklington’s first stop on ‘goat track’
Childers was the first stop for Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington on her roadtrip from Brisbane to Cairns on the Bruce Highway ahead of the upcoming Queensland Election.
She elaborated on her vision for the $33b four-lane the Bruce Highway from Curra to Cairns, expected to create about 100,000 jobs and announce a $50 million investment into rest stops, if the LNP win.
Ms Frecklington said she heard people had dubbed the highway a "goat track" and she echoed the sentiment.
"It's exactly why the LNP have committed to make Queensland most important road, Queensland's best road," she said.
Ms Frecklington said it was businesses like Donovan Avocados which understood the importance of a strong national highway.
"The four-laning of the Bruce Highway is all about jobs; making sure that Queenslanders get back into work, because it's only the LNP that has a plan to drag Queensland out of this recession," she said.
Ms Frecklington said rest stops, or driver reviver stops were more important now than ever.
She said this would not only provide a job opportunity, but potentially help save lives.
Donovan Avocados' Lachlan Donovan said the plan was "fantastic" for their business.
"We're doing about three B-doubles a day of fruit going out, that's going down the Bruce Highway," he said, not to mention the amount of transport and fruit coming into their site from other businesses.
Mr Donovan said they were looking to double their production over the next five years, which would increase traffic heading up and down the highway.
"We need [the produce to get to] Brisbane in an efficient manner and in a safe manner," he said.
"Even us travelling backwards and forwards, we want a safer, better road.
"At the moment the road takes forever … this whole highway needs a lot of work on it."
Mr Donovan there were always delays and over the last few years the journey has become an hour longer than what it used to be.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said in the last year alone, 30 people had died on the Bruce Highway.
"It's not good enough, the people of Wide Bay and regional Queensland deserve so much better," he said.
"And that's why the jobs that will come from this changing infrastructure investment will be mind-blowing not only for Wide Bay, but for Queensland."
Member for Bundaberg David Batt said it was only the LNP who had a plan to create jobs in the Wide Bay.
Hailing from a small country town herself, Ms Frecklington said she understood the importance of the roads which go in and out of them.
"Road safety is one of the most important things, so when you've got little towns that rely on a road it is vitally important.
"I cannot stand by and let 30 people lose their life each and every year."
With the highway being a national arterial road, she said getting the planning right was paramount, ensuring communities get a say on how their town interacts with the road.
"Doing nothing is just not an option, and regional Queensland deserves the jobs that'll flow from this major investment," she said.
When asked what she made of the $42.5 million announcement Minister Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey made with regards to the Isis Highway between Bundaberg and the Bruce Highway on the weekend, Ms Frecklington laughed.
"Look that was a commitment that was announced, I understand, several years ago, and no doubt it was over budget," she said.
"That's an old announcement so I think it might be better if the Labor Government started focusing on the future of Queensland."
Ms Frecklington said with regards to the highway upgrades, the priority areas would always be high-crash zones and flooding areas.
She said it was essential for the detailed planning to be done on this major project.
"It is a project that will take 15 years, it can't be done overnight," she said.
"So it is very important that we get that planning right."