Port road plans need to be clear

PLANS for stages two and three of the new Gladstone Ports Access Rd need to be made clearer to the community.

That is the view of Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd, who has called on the Gladstone Ports Corporation and the State Government to present more details on the project.

“There are people out there who have different routes in mind (for the port access road). I am one of them, but we are not being given a chance to have our voice heard.”

Mr O'Dowd said a public consultation process was necessary to ensure the community was well informed on the issue.

He said he has been told no houses would be resumed for the construction of the road, but without clarity, residents would naturally be worried.

He also called on GPC and the State Government to rule out using land owned by Gladstone Hospital for the project.

“Early indications are that the new road will run parallel to the railway line out to Red Rover Rd,” he said.

“If this is the case I want the GPC and the government to guarantee that no land will be taken away from the hospital.

"I am calling on all concerned to get this matter out into the open and rule out forever that our hospital will not have to again play second fiddle to bad strategic decisions.”

Stage one of the port access road was completed eight years ago, under the Howard Government, at a cost of $15 million.

Stages two and three will create an extension from Glenlyon St to Blain Dr and then on to Red Rover Rd.

The 2011/12 Federal Budget, released last month, allocated $50 million for the project, with $1.8 million to be spent on administration costs.

Full funding is to be provided in 2014/15, but is dependent on the safe passage of the Gillard Government's Mineral Resource Tax.

Mr O'Dowd's initial response to the proposal on May 10 was that the money would be better spent on other road projects, especially the Calliope Crossroads.

Mr O'Dowd has not backed away from that claim, but he said his concern now was the need for transparency.

“Stages two and three of the port access road have been talked about by GPC, the Federal Government and State Governments since prior to the 2010 election,” he said.

“It came out of the blue and since then GPC has released very little detail other than to say it is in the planning stages.

“It is time for the GPC and the government to consult with the people of Gladstone to ensure that the best, least disruptive route can be found.”



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