Hinkler One Nation candidate Damian Huxham with senate candidate Pauline Hanson at Toogoom.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Hinkler One Nation candidate Damian Huxham with senate candidate Pauline Hanson at Toogoom.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

Huxham claims bridge mega-spend as major win

THERE is no bridge yet but Damian Huxham is celebrating a major victory.

The Federal Government's announcement $200,000 was approved for a feasibility study into the Burrum Bridge came after "additional information from the Fraser Coast Regional Council" was received.

The joint announcement included Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft and Bundaberg mayor Jack Dempsey.

Mr Pitt said the study would "finally show if the project was feasible, economically viable and at what cost to taxpayers'.

"For 10 years this project has been discussed but no-one has ever had real facts on how much it would cost, where it would go, what traffic volumes it could bring and the economic impact," Mr Pitt said.

"I said the Federal Government would fund a feasibility study to see once and for all if this project stacks up. No more pie in the sky figures. We'll have a real budget that the Queensland State Government can use to assess whether it wants to fund this project."

For Mr Huxham, who stood against Mr Pitt as Pauline Hanson's One Nation party's candidate at the 2016 Federal election, it was a win for him, his party, and most importantly the bridge committee.

"He labelled it a 'fanciful, pie-in-the-sky' project but we made him backflip, commit funding and forced him to come through on his pork-barrelling promise," Mr Huxham said.

Mr Huxham and One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson named the bridge over the Burrum River the Dungi Bula - Bula Bridge during his campaign last year.

"This is a huge win for the bridge committee, it's a big win for me and the party," he said.

"I didn't have any monetary promises but this was the big-ticket item we took to the election.

"I promised nothing but to make the major parties listen to the people. This feels like a lottery win."

Mr Chester said the study would investigate potential alignment options between Burrum and Buxton.

"The Australian Government committed $200,000 during the 2016 election campaign towards a feasibility study for a new road bridge over the Burrum River," Mr Chester said.

"The Fraser Coast Regional Council recently provided the Australian Government with the necessary information to progress the study which is expected to explore the overall cost of a new bridge, connecting roads and infrastructure, benefits to the community, environmental impacts and land acquisition. It is expected consultants will be appointed in the coming months."

Cr Loft said the feasibility study would deliver a much needed boost in confidence for the local business community.

Mr Dempsey welcomed the Government's commitment to the study.

'We're really pleased to see the study proceed," Mr Dempsey said.

"We hope the study will confirm if the benefits of a new road bridge outweigh the costs, which will put to bed the impasse of whether an additional road crossing over Burrum River has merit."

The study is expected to be completed by mid-2018.



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