Press Conference

Interview

DCI079/2017

31 August 2017

Subject: Roads to Recovery project

Greg Williamson: … to actually endorse the commissioning of this new road, which is a vital road under the Roads to Recovery program that we attracted about $12 million for over a four year period from the Federal Government. So, the Federal Government have contributed $2.5 million to this road. We brought in just under a million, and we did a deal with the Magpie Sporting Club to allow use of Magpie’s land to construct a bypass road to allow this road to be done in record time. So here we are just three months into this project and we’ve got a very, very good outcome. They started driving on it on Tuesday morning. I think everybody in this district is going to be very happy with the outcome. We’ve got another footpath, and we’ll construct—at the end of this, in about four weeks’ time, six weeks’ time is the start week I think—we’ll have a bridge over the creek there, and allow us just greater access to the Magpie Sporting Complex at the top end of the road.

So, a really good outcome from our point of view, all done by council staff. The team that we’ve had working on this ranges from the guy who’s on the grader who’s been with us for forty years to a guy who’s been on council for seven years. So, a really good experienced team and we’re really happy with the outcome, and for the Roads to Recovery program that was initiated by the Federal Government, this is another fantastic expenditure of money that will see the community benefit, and that’s what it’s all about. So, we did Malcomson Street last year, this road this year, and we’ll move on to do another one to wrap up the program next year. So, a great outcome for our council and really good expenditure of federal money in our district.

George Christensen: Well, just to add on to what Greg said, it’s fantastic to be working in partnership with Mackay Regional Council. Obviously, we’ve stumped up over $2.5 million for this project, which I think is around a bit over the $3.2 million mark, so the council’s put in a significant contribution itself financially from the ratepayers, and also with the council staff delivering the project. So it’s great to be able to deliver something which is going to improve trafficability, improve safety—not just safety for motorists, I understand that there’s a shared bikeway-footpath which they constructed here as well, so that’s safety for pedestrians, safety for cyclists as well. It’s great to get federal and local government delivering a project like this that sustains jobs and makes roads safer.

Darren Chester: Well thanks George, it’s great to be here as well, and I congratulate Mackay Regional Council for the work it’s doing under the Roads for Recovery program. The great thing about Roads for Recovery is it allows local communities to set their own local priorities and get on with the job. And we’re all about building better, safer roads, and this project is a fantastic example of that, where the Federal Government is working in partnership with Mackay Regional Council to deliver better, safer roads in this community. We’re also about building better highways, and you’ve seen the Bruce Highway project, $6.7 billion from the Federal Government gone into the Bruce Highway project over a period of years now, and critically, the Mackay Ring Road project is about a month away from the first sod turn for that project, so we’re excited to be working with Mackay Regional Council, with everyone in this community to deliver better roads, not just on the highways, but also right down to local roads. It’s a great project, it’s one that’s creating local jobs here in Mackay, just like the Bruce Highway project is going to create local jobs here.

Question: How many people are working on this project at the moment?

Greg Williamson: So around 15 working on the project, and all council officers, all council staff, and of course, when you spend the best part of $3.2 million in the community to build something like this, that’s a lot of trickle-down effect. So once again, the road’s great, safety aspect, access to Magpies and the businesses at the top end of town; that’s fantastic, but we’ve had 15 council officers, well council staff working on the project, and the expenditure of $3.5 million or close to $3.5 million in our community to build it. The outcome for that for our community is- you’ve got to appreciate that when we attract federal money to town to spend on roads like this, it has an enormous flow-on effect. So it’s not just about the staff that are out working on it, it’s the flow-on effect that keeps our community and our small businesses alive.

Question: Greg, why was this road such a priority to upgrade?

Greg Williamson: When you look at this road and the traffic that it carries, and the access to the Glenella area, the Magpies Sporting Complex area, and also the access that enabled the Northern Beaches area to get to soccer here, this major sporting complex, this was a road that was in bad need of recovery. It flooded all the time, it was just deteriorating to the point that we couldn’t spend enough money to keep it [indistinct] every year, so it was an ideal candidate for the Roads for Recovery program, and it’s been a great outcome.