One Nation candidate says he'll continue bridge fight
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 10:40AM:
ONE NATION candidate for Hinkler Damian Huxham will continue his fight for the Burrum River bridge, regardless of his success in the July 2 election.
Mr Huxham, who brought the bridge back into the public spotlight after he launched an online petition on the Queensland state parliament website earlier this year, said he could not "throw his hands in the air" about the proposed additional connection between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.
His petition, found at buildourbridge.org, was signed by 395 people at the time of publication.
"It will join the region and link it (the region) right up, we have estimated it will pay for itself in five years," he said.
"We will keep pushing."
"If I happen to win the seat and Pauline (Hanson) wins a seat in the senate, then Hinkler will have senate backing straight away."
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 9.45AM:
Not everyone on the Fraser Coast is impressed with the proposed $200,000 feasibility study into the bridge over the Burrum River.
Friends of the Burrum River System Group president Tim Thornton said the bridge, if built, would impede yachts and other large vessels from travelling up the river.
"This is being promoted by vested interests and it is a blatant political exercise on behalf of Keith Pitt in the middle of the election campaign," he said.
"We already have two road bridges over the Burrum River, do we really need a third?"
While Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft was taken by surprise by the announcement, he said a bridge linking Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, as well as connecting Burrum Heads, Woodgate, Toogoom and Buxton, would give an "instantaneous boost" to the local economy.
"If that bridge does go ahead, which I hope it will, it will be a huge boost to the Fraser Coast region," he said.
"There will be businesses that pop up, there will be just a busy flow, it will also get people off the Bruce Hwy so they can calm down and enjoy this fabulous region."
Labor candidate Tim Lawson is in support of the bridge but says it should be a longer-term goal, superseded by more pressing matters such as reining in the region's high unemployment rate.
Hinkler Bridge committee president Doug Waters, who has pushed for the bridge for the past seven years, said precious time had been already wasted garnering political support and funding.
"I was there pushing with (former Hinkler federal member) Paul Neville, three years prior to Keith Pitt," he said.
He said a report, commissioned by the Hinkler Bridge Steering Committee, had costed the bridge-building project alone as $30 million, with a six-month time-frame for completion.
With Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey on board for the project, Mr Waters said he could not understand why the pledged $200,000 feasibility study would be co-ordinated by the Fraser Coast council alone.
State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders, whose electorate covers Burrum Heads, told the Chronicle last month he was "totally against" the bridge over the Burrum River.
Up to $200,000 has been pledged to conduct a feasibility study into a bridge to cross the Burrum River by the Coalition Government.
If re-elected after polling day on July 2, the federal funds will be given by the Coalition Government to the Fraser Coast Regional Council who will co-ordinate the study into the project.
Do you think the Burrum Bridge is a good idea? Would you use it?
This poll ended on 25 May 2016.
Yes, I think it is much needed and I would use it regularly
No, I think the money could be better spent differently in the region
I'm undecided at this stage
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the Burrum River bridge had long been a "contentious" issue for the Hinkler electorate.
"While there are many views within the community on the proposal, my view has always been that there should be a proper and thorough cost-benefit analysis for the project," he said.
The proposed funding was announced by Mr Pitt and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester on Tuesday morning.
Mr Chester said the feasibility study would take into account the overall cost of a new bridge, connecting roads, the benefits to the community, environmental impacts and land acquisition.