THE Queensland State Government is leading Far Northerners down a dangerous, wasteful path with its spending and road design ideas in the wider Cairns region, according to Far Northern Katter’s Australia Party (KAP) members.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter has questioned the State Government’s decision-making ability after more than $10m in taxpayer funding has spent to date just to “study” the Barron River Bridge.
Mr Katter said if the bridge was safe to use, as per engineer reports, it should be left as is and feature as a “beautiful tourist drive”.
“What use is spending further millions on a new bridge, when the rest of this winding road will continue creating havoc and bottlenecks,” Mr Katter said.
“You’ve got tens of thousands of people heading into Smithfield from the Tablelands, and from the north, another few thousand, all meeting at one intersection.
“Meanwhile, we’ve got millions of dollars in minerals west of Mareeba, which we can’t get to the port, and no matter how much you spend on this bridge or the Kuranda Range Road, it will never be a heavy-freight route.”
Mr Katter has once again voiced his objection for the State Government’s handling of the current issues with the Barron River bridge in Kuranda and the wider issues of the Kuranda Range Road, asking again to build an alternative route.
“Build the Bridle Track Tunnel – open up the mineral fields, open up west of the dividing range for housing,” he said.
Hill MP Shane Knuth said the State Government had missed a golden opportunity to construct an inland highway as part of a nation building project.
“The time is right to construct a new inland highway from Mareeba to Cairns,” he said.
“There is huge frustration with the Kuranda Range in regard to it being closed, sometimes two to three times a week, because of traffic accidents.
“A real opportunity now exists to build this inland highway and open up this region, but all the State Government has done is waste millions of dollars in cameras and the frustrations will continue for generations.
“The massive amount of feedback we have received reveals people would prefer an inland highway and for the Kuranda Range to be left as a tourist route.”
Mr Knuth said out of the potential of hundreds of millions of dollars that will be put into this, it could have been put towards a direct route which could save motorists up to 40 minutes, one way.
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