Commitment. The Bass Highway will receive a $60 million upgrade with funding to begin flowing in the first year of office should Labor be elected at the next federal election.
The infrastructure package will focus on key sections of the highway between Wynyard and Marrawah including through re-engineering, road widening, construction of overtaking lanes and safety improvements at critical intersections.
Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the project works would be prioritised in consultation with the state government, Circular Head Council and community members.
“This is a critical area for road safety,” Mr Albanese said. “We also know that along that section of the highway we have a million tonnes of freight worth a billion dollars to the Tasmanian and national economy.
“[We want] to make sure that we improve road safety, we improve productivity and we create jobs as well here in the north west.”
Candidate for Braddon Justine Keay said the announcement was the culmination of community campaigning led by Wells Waggons general manager Kimbra Wells, Circular Head Council and the wider community.
“I have been pleased to support that campaign. I have raised the issue in the parliament, launched a community petition and advocated to all sides of politics,” Ms Keay said.
“Labor’s funding will make the highway much safer and to use Kimbra Wells’ own words, ‘We just want the road fixed, not repaired’.
“Labor’s funding will make this happen.”
An advocate for the campaign for many years, Kimbra said a full rebuild of the road would put the community’s mind at ease.
“It’s great for our community that this has been recognised and a serious commitment and promise to fix it – not just repair it – has been made,” she said, adding the support from both sides of politics is appreciated.
“A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into this campaign. We’ve had enough of patching and repairing it but it’s not getting any better.
“For the short term pain of having the road dug up, the long term gain is worth it.”