CONTROVERSIAL Queensland MP George Christensen has warned both the Federal and State governments that he will do the unthinkable if his community is left without a vital piece of infrastructure.
Mr Christensen has ramped up his campaign for Stage 2 of the Mackay Ring Road, releasing an attention-grabbing video and petition in a bid to get both his Federal and State colleagues to “put a Ring Road on it”, the Daily Mercury reports.
“I’m hoping they will believe the threat is real where I release my inner Beyonce and they will come to the party with funding for the Ring Road,” he said.
“It is a serious issue… we have Stage 1 of the Ring Road but right now it’s less of a Ring and more a 90 degree angle road.
“The estimates are that Mackay Ring Road Stage 2 is a $350m project, so I am looking for $280m [80 per cent] for this project.”
Mr Christensen said the Federal Government can find the money within the Roads of Strategic Importance funding purse, worth $1.5 billion.
The fund, outlined in the recent Federal budget, is specifically for road corridors in northern Australia.
“The normal carve up for a road like the Mackay Ring Road is actually 100 per cent of the costs borne by the State government because it is not part of the national highway,” he said. “But it is a road that is strategically important to this region, the road is going to provide great economic benefit… so I’m going to bat for 80 per cent of the funds.
“We are just looking for the balance from the state government, and I’m sure they can find the remaining 20 per cent and get the job done.”
Mr Christensen said the funds won’t be used in the next couple of years, but it is important to commit to the road now.
“The next vital stage of the Mackay Ring Road is Stage 2 which puts the loop, or ring, on the road and takes it through to the Mackay Port,” he said.
“This will provide a strategic connection between the port and the Bowen Basin and Galilee Basin mining regions and prime agricultural regions to the west. It also removes all signalised intersections between the Mackay Port and the Peak Downs Highway.”
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the state government cannot commit funds until the Federal government confirms what slice of the pie they will pay for.
Ms Gilbert’s government released The Regional Transport Plan yesterday, which claims Mackay Ring Road Stage 2 is not currently required for another 10 to 15 years.