Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington says that in the wake of the Nanango Electorate being ranked as the region with the second highest road fatalities in the State, there is more bad news with one of the South Burnett’s worst bridges, GS Bond Bridge (on the Chinchilla-Wondai Road), having its funding removed.
Mrs Frecklington said GS Bond Bridge is a dangerous bridge desperately in need of complete replacement and realignment.
“GS Bond Bridge is a bad bridge and there was hope several years ago when it was listed for a $13million overhaul,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“However, in this year’s Qld Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP), the funding for GS Bond Bridge has disappeared.
“We have been told the funding has been removed and will go towards other ‘higher priority’ projects to progress.
“The GS Bond Bridge should be a very high priority, given it is a very narrow bridge with inadequate signage, no safety railings, and low visibility and limited room on its approaches.
“It is a school bus route and I’ve talked with parents with children at Durong South State School who are very concerned about the safety of this bridge.
“Unfortunately, this story is all too common, with another dangerous bridge, the single-lane Tanduringie Creek Bridge on the Kingaroy-Cooyar Road, in the same situation. It has received no funding despite desperate calls from myself and the community after a near tragedy involving the school bus and truck.
“The list of bad bridges in our region goes on, with Running Creek Bridge on the Brooweena-Woolooga Road (the bridge that burnt down), the Wide Bay Creek Bridge (reduced to one lane and lowered speed limit) and Coppermine Creek Bridge (single-lane) bridges on Kilkivan-Tansey Road all in desperate need of complete replacement.
“Once again, I implore the Labor Government to look at the very high road statistics in our region and what is blatantly obvious - our regional roads need urgent funding to make them safe.
“Our communities need confidence in their road network to know they can travel to work, drop their kids off at school or drive their truck to market without worrying if they’ll return to their families at the end of the day,” Deb said.
Photo: Bad Bridge 1 – At GS Bond Bridge on the Boyne River with Durong South State School P&C President Bec Seiler (left) and P&C member Natalie Gordon
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington says the RACQ statistics revealing the Nanango Electorate as the second highest region for road fatalities so far this year is heartbreaking.
Mrs Frecklington said the tragedy that is unfolding on our region’s roads is leaving families torn apart, with 10 fatalities in the region between January and July 2021.
“It seems like each time you see the news, there has been another fatality, or serious accident in our region,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“And we have to remember that these statistics only count the people who have lost their lives. There are many more who are injured and incapacitated in these accidents and who will endure a lifetime of suffering.
“Sadly however, I don’t think anyone from my Electorate would be surprised by these figures.
“We have known for a long time that many of our state-controlled roads are unsafe and that there has been a chronic neglect of regional road upgrades and maintenance under Labor.
“I have been continually asking for road funding for our key regional roads, but the response is always the same from Labor - our regional roads are not a priority and there is no funding.
“Unfortunately, that statistics don’t lie and the RACQ breakdown highlights that state-controlled roads in regions like Nanango, Callide and Burnett are being overlooked for funding. This is having terrible consequences for too many people who are losing their lives on our local roads.
“Statewide we know the backlog on state-controlled roads has blown out from $4 billion to $6 billion.
“The Auditor-General also forecast that our maintenance backlog would grow to $9 billion this decade, but at the current rate, it will be well over $10 billion.
“I implore the Labor Government to look at these statistics and what is blatantly obvious - our regional roads need urgent funding to make them safe.
“Our communities need confidence in their road network to know they can travel to work, drop their kids off at school or drive their truck to market without worrying if they’ll return to their families at the end of the day,” Mrs Frecklington said.
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington has congratulated five Somerset community groups who have been successful in Round 109 of the Gambling Community Benefit Fund (GCBF) grants.
Mrs Frecklington said nearly $120,000 will be shared amongst the groups for community projects, infrastructure upgrades and equipment.
“I would like to congratulate these hard working clubs and the volunteers who put their time into securing these worthwhile projects that will greatly benefit our community,” she said.
The successful Somerset groups in Round 109 of the GCBF include:
“I encourage all local groups, however big or small, to consider applying for a Gambling Community Benefit Fund Grant to help achieve their goals,” Deb said.
There are five rounds each financial year, with the next round closing 31 October 2021. For more information give my office or call on 4190 7100, or head to https://www.justice.qld.gov.au/initiatives/community-grants
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington, says the decision by Commonwealth Bank to reduce hours at the Murgon branch is just another example of services being stripped from regional areas.
Mrs Frecklington said it is extremely disappointing that the Commonwealth Bank does not comprehend the importance of face-to-face services to regional towns like Murgon.
“Murgon has been included in a long list of regional towns across Australia that will have their daily opening hours reduced to 9.30am until 1pm,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“This is like a death-by-a-thousands cuts. We know that once major banks start reducing their hours, they then claim not enough people are using the walk-in service and the next thing we see is branch closures.
“Regional towns like Murgon really value these types of services and once again we’re seeing large companies relinquish their commitment to serve regional areas.
“Unfortunately, this has become a common theme for the big banks, who believe they can service their customers just as well online.
“However, for community groups, and businesses, it will always be necessary for them to have access to physical banking services. And we all know that many people in regional areas have poor internet connection, or no computer access at all, so internet banking isn’t always the answer.
“The other thing that we’re seeing in regional Queensland is the issue of cybercrime. More and more people are being targeted in scams and there is a genuine need for victims of these crimes to be able to access their bank in person to discuss their situation.
“I am also really concerned about the staff. The Commonwealth Bank needs to ensure employment options are provided to these local staff.
“I will be writing to the Commonwealth Bank to express my disappointment about the reduction of hours at Murgon to request their decision be overturned,” Deb said.
The LNP is calling for the State Government to adopt a sliding scale criteria to small business financial assistance and accelerate applications during the ongoing lockdown.
Leader of the Opposition David Crisafulli said the grant scheme had merit and would save more businesses and protect more jobs if it was flexible and could be delivered immediately.
“Financial aid must be delivered quicker and be made available for small and family businesses of all sizes,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“A one size fits all approach to support small and family businesses ends up fitting very few.
“Financial support must be a sliding scale to suit different sized businesses because as it stands, small businesses with a turnover of less than $75,000 aren’t eligible for any assistance and those larger ones might require a little more assistance up front to keep trading through.
“The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed two-thirds of businesses are not eligible. That’s not good enough.
“42% of Queenslanders are employed by small and family businesses.
“There are people who rely on shifts to pay rent and keep food on the table for their families.
“This lockdown hurts small and family business owners and their staff mentally, socially and economically.”
Shadow Minister for Small and Family Business Brent Mickelberg says businesses needed clarity and consistency from the State Government.
“Every day that the State Government fails to support sole traders, is another day when more hairdressers, book-keepers and lawn mowing businesses will fold,” Mr Mickelberg said.
“There are more than 450,000 small and family businesses in Queensland and around 288,000 of those aren’t being provided with any assistance.
“They are the lifeblood of every community and they are being let down by a situation out of their control.
“For the sake of every Queensland community, we must properly support all small and family businesses crying out for help in their hour of need.”