Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett has lashed out comments made by Transport Minister Mark Bailey earlier this week but Mr Bailey wasn’t having it.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett has lashed out comments made by Transport Minister Mark Bailey earlier this week but Mr Bailey wasn’t having it.

War of words over road funds as Bennett takes swipe

With the State Election just a month away, political tensions are growing and no one is pulling any punches.

After Transport Minister Mark Bailey spoke out about Deb Frecklington's "outright lie" regarding his $42.5m funding announcement for the region, Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett has also jumped into the fray.

While discussing the LNP's four-lane plan for the Bruce Highway and announcing a $50m investment for rest stops if they win the upcoming election, Ms Frecklington dismissed Labor's funding for the Isis Highway between Bundaberg and the Bruce Highway as an "old announcement".

Mr Bailey however said this was the one and only time that this program had been announced, as the business case was only completed in June of this year.

CAMPAIGN ROAD: Opposition leader Deb Frecklington stops in Childers on her road trip up the Bruce Highway.
CAMPAIGN ROAD: Opposition leader Deb Frecklington stops in Childers on her road trip up the Bruce Highway.

Despite Mr Bailey's assurances this was a new announcement, Mr Bennett was not convinced.

"The Isis Highway upgrades are part of the Hinkler Regional Deal, which, as we know, the Queensland State Labor Government has dragged the chain on signing off on," Mr Bennett said.

"Here we have an out-of-touch Labor Minister trying to mislead the people of the Wide Bay by continuing the spin and lies that has been part of the Labor Government's approach since day dot.

Mr Bennett said "instead of bullying the LNP Leader Deb Frecklington", Mr Bailey should focus of what was important for the region.

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"We need real leadership and a focus of creating jobs for a region that is crying out for them," he said.

"Next time the Minister is in town spinning his rhetoric, I expect him to agree to sign a Project Agreement at the Port and support local investment," he said.

In light of Mr Bennett's comments, Mr Bailey said this was "a Stephen Bennett blunder".

Mr Bailey said Ms Frecklington was "caught out lying" and now Mr Bennett has been thrown "a hospital pass to clean up her mess".

He clarified that the $42.5m investment on the Isis Highway is on top of the joint-funding locked in for the $5m Isis Highway overtaking lanes, which was part of the Hinkler Regional Deal.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and Labor Candidate Tom Smith. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and Labor Candidate Tom Smith. Picture: Rhylea Millar

"A simple Google search or scan of the Palaszczuk Government's $23 billion Queensland Transport and Road Investment Program would've shown him that," he said.

"Yet, here's a shadow cabinet Minister not even knowing how to read basic government documents.

"How can anyone trust Deb Frecklington, Stephen Bennett or the LNP when they don't just lie to Queenslanders to score political points but they double down on their lie, and expect people to believe it."