FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP: Hinkler MP Keith Pitt (left) and the office of Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey have clashed over $8 million in funding for Bargara Rd.
FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP: Hinkler MP Keith Pitt (left) and the office of Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey have clashed over $8 million in funding for Bargara Rd. NewsMail

STATE OF MADNESS: No plan to use $8m funding

EIGHT million dollars in federal budget funding is sitting in no man's land as the political blame game ramps up.

The money was announced as part of Tuesday night's Budget and is earmarked to deliver significant upgrades to east Bundaberg's Bargara Rd and Princess St.

Of five roads projects announced for the Hinkler electorate, $8 million was set aside for upgrades on Bargara Rd-Princess St.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said the investment would improve travel times, better connect communities, support the economy and address issues around freight routes.

"In the northern part of the electorate, Bargara Rd-Princess St is an important connecting road between Bargara and the Bundaberg central business district," he said.

"This road currently experiences significant congestion and a high proportion of heavy vehicle traffic."

The road is state-controlled.

Yesterday, a spokesman from Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey's office said, much like the $32 million Quay St bypass funding announced by Mr Pitt earlier this week, the Queensland Government had not been consulted on what was planned for the Princess St upgrade.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads referred NewsMail inquiries about what the money would be used for and plans for the section of road back to the Federal Government.

Mr Bailey's office was adamant it had no knowledge of the project.

The spokesman said there had been no consultation about the department's priorities for the region or how the $8 million was to be spent.

"There's been no consultation, no detailed planning presented, there's no indication on how the money's going to be spent," he said.

"What's happened is, there's a federal election coming up and they (the Federal Government) have gone and said '$8 million' but they haven't consulted the State Government, they haven't provided any indication of how it will be used."

The spokesman didn't identify what the department's alternate road priorities were for the Bundaberg region.

"There are a number of projects that have been identified and that are underway in the Bundaberg area," he said.

"I'm assuming if the federal member has announced it, he will approach the State Government with plans on how he intends to allocate that money.

"It's his announcement, he'll be the one to say where the money's going to go. If he's allocating $8 million he needs to provide again the detailed planning, how it's going to be allocated - at the moment all we've heard is there's been an announcement.

"We do not have any detail about how it's been costed."

Mr Pitt hit back saying "enough was enough".

"It's obvious that Deputy Premier Jackie Trad never wanted to sign up to the Hinkler Regional Deal and her government doesn't care about the people that live outside of the south-east corner," he said.

"Normally road projects like Bargara Rd-Princess St are split 80-20 with the Federal Government providing the 80 percent, so I'm gobsmacked that Deputy Premier Trad and Minister Bailey are thumbing their nose at $8 million towards this project."

Before yesterday's political fight, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Demspey had commended the federal government for the Bargara Rd funding.

Recent additions to the stretch of road, such as Puddles car wash, the newly announced KFC and an expansion at Acorn Child Care Centre will all benefit from road upgrades.

Bundaberg East Cabin and Tourist Park is on Princess St and manager Glenissa Pennicott said the strip had many near-miss crashes.

"Our guests find it extremely difficult to get in to the park and to exit the park," Ms Pennicott said.

"The traffic is just non-stop, there's no cut-offs to pull in to ... people end up having to go left if they want to go right and then whack a uey (u-turn) somewhere."

Ms Pennicott said turning and merging lanes would help improve the stretch of road.

The number of businesses along Princess St and Bargara Rd attracted a lot of traffic and the lack of dedicated parking spaces caused mayhem, she said.

"An upgrade could only be beneficial," she said.

"Even a side access so it's easier, because this road is just non-stop until night time.

"It's really dangerous for anyone trying to get in and out. There are a lot of close calls."



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