ALP member bags Bligh over roads
HE may have been a dedicated ALP member for years, but Dudley Watson won’t toe the party line while the State’s roads continue to crumble and deteriorate.
The Warwick ALP branch president said the local group has resolved to challenge Premier Anna Bligh over the state of our roads.
Mr Watson said the wet weather over the past two months led to “sub-surface floods”, and that local authorities needed funding now to help solve the problem.
“It’s not a visual thing, but water is coming out of the ground and there are waterlogged roads,” he told the Daily News.
“All these regional authorities have been doing it tough since amalgamation and the branch wants to see Anna Bligh and her Ministers give three million dollars as an ex gratia payment, with no strings attached, other than it has to be used on roads to keep councils and communities afloat.”
Mr Watson said he was aware he would probably get “rapped over the fingers” for speaking out, but he was “happy to attack them” because somebody needed to say something.
“Mayors are screaming and they are getting no response,” he said.
“It’s above party politics.”
The political stalwart comments follow a recent Daily News article, in which Cr Jo McNally scorned the state of Southern Downs roads after Department of Transport and Main Roads regionaldirector Tony Platz said his department was battling for its share of Federal Government funding.
At the time Cr McNally warned the disturbing death toll on the Warrego Highway could be repeated in this region if work wasn’t done.
Nicknamed the “highway to hell”, the Department of Transport and Main Roads has been threatened with legal action over the state of the Warrego Highway.
Mr Watson argues that no real money is being spent on road improvements other than to do “ad-hoc” main-tenance.
“We’ve been told there will be no flood funding until November, but we needmoney now. We want it up front and then various levels and tiers can argue about the rest. We need this over and above forthcoming flood-damage funding.”
He argues coastal roads such as those at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads are in pristine condition, with substantial work also done near Ipswich while the rest of the State’s roads are “a disgrace”.
Premier Anna Bligh said a few months ago they set aside special funding of $30 million to help western councils maintain roads.
“I commend the president of the Warwick ALP branch for his concern for his local community and fellow Queenslanders,” Ms Bligh said.
“The State Government lends a helping hand to councils in troubled times. When roads out west were badly damaged by the worst flooding in recent history, Main Roads crews worked around the clock to help council workers repair their roads.”
Ms Bligh said Main Roads was working hard to assess damage to regional roads and submissions for funding were being prepared through the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
“We have offered to help local governments prepare their submissions for funding which are then approved by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning,” she said.
We’re committed to building new and better roads across the state through our $3.3 billion roads budget.