October 23, 2017
A new working group has been formed to pressure the State Government to upgrade two vital transport links in the South Burnett.
The group – to be chaired by Durong grazier and AgForce Deputy Chair Georgie Somerset – consists of representatives from the South Burnett, North Burnett and Western Downs regional councils, the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO), Toowoomba Surat Basin Energy Enterprise (TSBE), Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett, and AgForce Queensland.
The group will be known as the “Mundubbera to Jandowae Roads Working Group” and hopes to focus State Government attention on Mundubbera-Durong Road and Chinchilla-Wondai Road (the section from Durong to the Western Downs Regional Council boundary).
“Ongoing discussions with various parties regarding the state of both the Mundubbera-Durong Road and Chinchilla-Wondai Road continue to highlight the need for improvement,” a statement from the group said.
“These State-controlled roads form part of an inland route between Central Queensland and Toowoomba and are crucial to the economic prosperity of several associated regions.
“As a result of these discussions, a number of key stakeholders have joined forces to form the Mundubbera to Jandowae Roads Working Group.
“While it is widely acknowledged there is no ‘quick-fix’ solution to address the current issues and concerns surrounding the roads in question, the Working Group is committed to working collaboratively to build the case for required funding.
“The group will also examine the broader case for regional connectivity to transport hubs through the Burnett inland region.”
BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm will facilitate the Working Group.
“We welcome business owners, including primary producers, industry bodies, tourism and transport operators to submit information and data regarding their current activity related to the road between Mundubbera and Jandowae,” Mrs Frahm said.
“We are also keen to identify any potential business development and growth improvements that this route would provide for businesses, and what opportunities are being lost.”
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said the roads between Mundubbera and Jandowae formed part of an important linkage for agriculture, tourism, transport and other industries, contributing not only to the economy of the South Burnett, but also that of neighbouring regions.
“Areas of these State-controlled roads are a great cause of concern for Council and we fully support the Mundubbera to Jandowae Roads Working Group in their efforts toward improving the route,” Mayor Campbell said.
North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers has also thrown her full support behind the lobbying efforts.
“These roads are crucial links in the future of our economy. Lack of investment in logistics infrastructure is holding rural areas back. Good freight and supply chains increase efficiency, safety and productivity and by doing so they encourage growth of industry and related businesses.”
The Mundubbera-Durong Road, in particular, has attracted much criticism over the past few years, especially as some sections of the major thoroughfare are just a single lane.
In August 2016, Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd acknowledged the need for upgrades to the road after a briefing from South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell and Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff about heavy transport issues. He agreed to help where he could.
And in November last year, South Burnett Directions’ Transport Reference Group listed the Mundubbera-Durong Road as one of five routes critical to improving heavy vehicle transport through the South Burnett.
The road is also believed to have been raised during Council discussions with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator over B-Double and road train routes.
Member for Nanango, Deputy Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington spoke out on social media recently about Mundubbera-Durong Road after a trip to inspect the Boyne River Bridge.
“There are many, many roads in the South Burnett which need upgrading, but since the Nanango Electorate was realigned to take in the Mundubbera-Durong Road, I have received numerous complaints and requests from not only locals, but transport companies and primary producers who are crying out to have the Mundubbera-Durong Road fixed,” Mrs Frecklington told southburnett.com.au on Monday.
“Last week I visited the Boyne River Bridge with the LNP Candidate for Callide Colin Boyce and then drove home via the Mundubbera-Durong Road to see its current condition.
“The one lane section from the North Burnett Council boundary towards the South Burnett is in a terrible condition and it is now one of my highest priorities which I’ll fight for at every opportunity to have upgraded.”