Livingstone Mayor visits Canberra to push for extra support
LIVINGSTONE mayor Bill Ludwig says the road to Shoalwater Bay is "an appalling situation, risking local residents and visitors who run the gauntlet every time they travel on local access roads during military exercises".
Cr Ludwig has just returned from Canberra where he is looking for close to $50 million to upgrade Stanage Bay Rd, the main access road to Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area and to discuss establishing defence industries in the shire.
"With the Australian Government and Singapore Governments jointly embarking on one billion dollar upgrade of SWBTA it is unbelievable that not one dollar has been allocated to upgrade Stanage Bay Rd," Cr Ludwig said.
"Leaving Livingstone ratepayers to pick up the major part of the bill for repairs and maintenance has made this bad situation even worse."
The Morning Bulletin understands Cr Ludwig is chasing about $47 million.
Armed with a comprehensive business case, Cr Ludwig questioned whether parliamentarians would let their own families drive with army convoys and major heavy transports on a road without the urgently needed upgrades to bring it up to a safe "fit for purpose" standard.
Cr Ludwig said the strongest support came from Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles, who said the submission was one of the most comprehensive and compelling he had ever seen.
"Shadow Minister Marles said he believed the Stanage Bay Rd upgrade proposal certainly deserved the strongest possible consideration and he would look to schedule an opportunity to come and inspect the matter first hand," Cr Ludwig said.
He said Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence Industry and Support Mike Kelly also said he would be prepared to actively explore the opportunities that the road upgrades and the establishment of defence industries could provide.
"Capricornia MP Michelle Landry secured a meeting with Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo who said he could see the case for upgrades to be considered," Cr Ludwig said.
"Council is supplying Ms Landry's office with a breakdown of the upgrade costs to forward to Minister Pyne for further consideration.
"This could easily be turned into a win-win situation, with the road upgrades making ADF's operations more effective and efficient, provide a direct benefit to local primary producers, but most importantly, making SWBTA access roads safe to travel for all local families and visitors."
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said while the military presence in CQ was a wonderful economic benefit, it didn't come with out its challenges.
"I was pleased to join Cr Ludwig in approaching our federal ministers regarding the funding of roads and while we are a little way from getting the funding Livingstone is after, it was clear that ministers were more than willing to hear the case and could see the difficulty the council faces in maintaining Stanage Bay Rd to a trafficable standard, year round.
"I will continue working with Livingstone to lobby for a solution to our road network's needs," Ms Landry said.