More highway work pledged

COALCLIFF plant hire contractor Brad Hansen knows howdangerous the Coalfields Highway can be.

His friend, Clayton Davidson, was 16-years-old when he diedin a car accident close to the Wellington Weir turn-off in 2002.

Mr Hansen spoke about the highway’s dangers on Tuesdaymorning with Opposition Leader Mark McGowan and Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray.

The discussion occurred as Mr McGowan announced that roadswould be a major beneficiary from the Royalties for Regions program under aState Labor Government.

He had chosen Coalfields Highway to highlight his point thatmore money from the program needed to be spent on regional roads.

“There are numerous roads throughout WA that are in need ofmajor upgrades or sealing,” Mr McGowan said.

About $20 million had been spent on the Coalfields Highway but more needed to bedone. “People are dying on this road,”he said.

Mr Hansen said that while the Coalfields Highway had been improvedcloser to Collie, the road needed to be widened further out.

“It’s close to the trees, and there’s not much room forerror,” Mr Hansen said.

Mr Murray said he had been supporting legislation tostraighten the highway. Legislation was needed because changes to the highwaywould go through national park property.

Mr Murray said the legislation was not being taken seriouslyenough in parliament. “It should havebeen in ages ago,” he said.

Mr McGowan said that his party’s policies for the Royaltiesfor Regions program focused on making life better for families in regionalcommunities.

“In addition to cost of living pressures, many countrycommunities continue to suffer from poor roads, inadequate water supplies, lackof medical facilities and declining educational opportunities,” Mr McGowansaid.

Another Labor policy was to increasing the annual value ofthe pension fuel card to $550.

Mr McGowan also planned to extend the value of the fuel cardso that pensioners could buy gas bottles instead of just petrol.

Many pensioners did not have their own cars and couldprobably use the card more effectively for gas bottles, Mr McGowan said.

Mr Murray said the plan was a “very good idea” and would bemuch appreciated in Collie’s winter weather.

“It can be very expensive for pensioners to keep their housewarm,” Mr Murray said.

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