The powerhouse economy of the Mackay region has been undermined by the Bruce Highway, according to Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen.
“Parts of the Bruce Highway are so flood prone, it only needs a cane toad to pee on the side of the road and the highway is cut,” he said. “We’ve seen in the past week how flooded roads can stop production on a billion dollar expansion at Abbot Point and keep tourists out of the Whitsundays.”
When the Goorganga Plains south of Proserpine and Sandy Gully north of Bowen flooded last week, tourist couldn’t fly or drive into the Whitsundays.
“The tourist industry has been flogged by natural disasters and the economy for more than a year,” Mr Christensen said. “The last thing they need is a road closed sign going up on the highway.
“Sandy Gully, just north of Bowen, is closed far too often and a worker who couldn’t get into Abbot Point for 30 hours told me it only takes a cane toad with a weak bladder to close the road.”
Mr Christensen was supporting the Shadow Minister for Transport, Warren Truss, who demanded action on the Bruce Highway today. Mr Truss called on the Labor Government to pick up some of the Coalition’s promises, including the Mackay Ring Road progression and flood mitigation work for the Yeppen Plain bridges at Rockhampton.
“Someone in Canberra needs a wake-up call,” Mr Christensen said. “I don’t think they have any idea how frequently these places flood and how much impact it has on the economy here, not to mention the lifestyle when grocery store shelves are empty for days.
“The Bligh Government’s Bruce Highway study didn’t even identify Sandy Gully as a problem area but I know how often it floods because I make regular trips between Mackay Townsville on electorate business. If the Labor Government can’t even see what the problem is, they have absolutely no chance of fixing it.”