By HARRY CLARKE
THE longstanding federal member for the inner-Brisbane seat of Moreton has taken aim at the Commonwealth Government following its announcement of significant funding to improve the safety of remote country roads.
Moreton MP Graham Perrett suggested via Twitter it was irresponsible for the government to have allocated $150 million to upgrade unsealed roads across rural Australia.
Mr Perrott was commenting on a press release from Nationals leader and Acting PM Barnaby Joyce, which announced the launch of the new funding under a Remote Road Upgrade Pilot Program.
“My grandfather was a grader driver during the Great Depression. If a road hasn’t had a grader on it since the Thirties why on earth would a responsible federal government make it a priority now while the population in the bush is decreasing?” Mr Perrott wrote.
In the press release, Mr Joyce had said that the $150 million in funding would be spent improving roads around rural Australia, “many of which haven’t been touched since the Great Depression”.
He said the program would offer councils between 80% and 100% of funding to upgrade unsealed roads and improve safety with works including resurfacing, removing dangerous corners and managing vegetation.
“This is not about sealing roads; it is about making them safer. It is about putting down gravel to stop parents getting bogged in the rain when they drive their kids to school; it is about removing dangerous corners,” Mr Joyce said.
“There are 2.2 deaths per 100,000 people in the major cities; 10 deaths per 100,000 in regional areas; and 25.1 deaths per 100,000 in remote areas.
“It is critical we ensure everyone has equitable access to local community centres including schools and medical care and that citizens are not cut off from their local townships due to the condition of roads.”
Graham Perrett has been the Member for Moreton since 2007 and is also the Shadow Assistant Minister for Education and Training.
The Caller contacted Mr Perrett for further comment and he said “don’t get me wrong. I love the bush” and said that he was originally from St George in South West Queensland.
“It just seems bizarre,” he said.
‘”I’d like to see the road that hasn’t been touched since the 30s. I’m just wary of the National Party when they announce funding.
“I’m all for the bush and I’m from the bush. The Nats have a bad track record when it comes to allocating funding.”
The Country Caller, which seeks to advocate for rural and regional Queensland, is based in the town of Chinchilla, which is part of the federal seat of Maranoa. Maranoa MP David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of the National Party, advertises with the Country Caller.