June 9, 2020
Years of lobbying by local residents, political candidates and the Mundubbera to Jandowae Roads Working Group has paid off with confirmation of $25 million funding to replace the dangerous John Peterson Bridge.
The narrow, single-lane bridge over the Boyne River on the Mundubbera-Durong Road, south of Mundubbera, is prone to flooding, cutting a vital freight link between the North and South Burnett regions.
It also frequently carries heavy stock transports as well as tourists exploring the area.
The funding package includes $5 million from the State Government – announced on site on Tuesday by Transport Minister Mark Bailey – and $20 million promised last year from the Federal Government.
The Mundubbera to Jandowae Roads Working Group (RWG) – formed in 2017 to press the case – organised a petition in 2019 calling for the replacement of the bridge as well as upgrades and improvements to Mundubbera-Durong Road.
This petition garnered more than 2000 signatures.
The RWG has representatives from the North Burnett, South Burnett and Western Downs councils, Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett, AgForce Queensland, Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) and the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO).
Both the LNP and Labor Party candidates for the electorate of Flynn promised funding to make the bridge upgrade a reality ahead of last year’s Federal Election.
Replacement of the bridge – and a realignment of the approach roads – have been a key concern for farmers and agri-businesses in the western part of the South Burnett for many years.
The replacement of the John Peterson Bridge was also identified as a high priority by local councils and the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC).
Burnett Pork Alliance’s Russell Bishop said the new bridge would make a significant difference to his business.
“This investment will save us between $5000 to $10,000 per day during flood events, as well as providing safe access for our staff,” he said.
“Currently we rely on a boat to ship staff and supplies across the Boyne River during floods.
“It will mean we will have safer access for our trucks throughout the year and will reduce our anxiety about rain events and their impact on the business.”
RWG chair and AgForce general president Georgie Somerset, North Burnett mayor Rachel Chambers and BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm attended Tuesday’s funding announcement.
Minister Bailey said detailed designs for the bridge upgrade were in their final stages and when complete, construction on the replacement and realignment of the bridge would begin.
Works are expected to get under way during the 2020-21 financial year and create 100 jobs.
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