Roads must benefit from coal seam gas revenue: Joyce

Senator says revenue from Queensland coal seam gas operations should be funnelled into Warrego Highway upgrade and Toowoomba Bypass project

September 11, 2012

A federal senator wants revenue from coal seam gas operations in Queensland funnelled into upgrading the Warrego Highway and building a heavy vehicle bypass at Toowoomba.

Following a recent meeting involving regional and rural Queensland mayors on the coal seam gas industry, Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says money must be invested back into areas where the resource is being extracted from.

He claims the coal seam gas industry will contribute more than $300 billion in total to federal and state government coffers and that the Warrego Highway, which passes through areas where coal seam gas operations are, should receive funding.

"It is an abomination. It is literally turning into something that would suit a road in central Africa but not a major arterial road to one of our greatest resource provinces in Australia. The reason why it is falling to pieces is the traffic on it. The traffic is absolutely overwhelming," Joyce says.

"We really need a four-lane highway to Dalby, because that is that amount of traffic that is on the road."

Joyce says there are too many trucks travelling through the city of Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.

"We are talking about thousands of movements a day going through a major town. You cannot do that. We have got to make sure that this investment goes back to the Toowoomba Bypass," he says.

The Federal Government has committed $43.2 million for planning works of the bypass and land acquisitions. If built, the bypass will give traffic on the Warrego Highway an alternative to using the congested Toowoomba Range.

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads says it has identified a 42km road corridor running north of Toowoomba from the highway to the Gore Highway south-west of Toowoomba as a bypass.

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