Last week Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig travelled to Canberra to press the case for the much needed upgrades of the Stanage Bay Road access route to Shoalwater Bay Army Training Area (SWBTA) and the establishment of defence industries in the region.
Along with a very comprehensive business case Cr Ludwig also put this very blunt question to both Government and Opposition Shadow Ministers….
“Would they let their families drive with army convoys and major heavy transports on Stanage Bay Road without the urgently needed upgrades to a safe ‘fit for purpose’ standard?”
Cr Ludwig said the strongest statement of support came from Shadow Minister for Defence, The Hon Richard Marles MP who said the submission Council had put forward was one of the most comprehensive and compelling he had ever seen.
“Shadow Minister Marles said he believed both the Stanage Bay Road upgrade proposal certainly deserved the strongest possible consideration and he would look to schedule an opportunity to come and inspect the matter firsthand.
“Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence Industry and Support, the Hon Mike Kelly MP was similarly very supportive and would also be prepared to actively explore with Council the opportunities that both the road upgrades and the establishment of defence industries could provide.
“Disappointingly Defence Minister Christopher Pyne was unavailable however Michelle Landry MP did to secure a meeting with Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Steven Ciobo MP who said he could see the case for upgrades to be considered.
“Council is supplying Michelle Landry’s office with an even more detailed breakdown of the upgrade costs to put forward to Minister Pyne for consideration.
“With the Australian Government and Singapore Governments jointly embarking on $1 billion dollar upgrade of SWBTA it is unbelievable that not one dollar has been allocated to upgrade Stanage Bay Road.
“Putting both local residents and visitors at risk to ‘run the gauntlet’ every time they travel on local access roads during major exercises is an appalling situation.
“Leaving Livingstone ratepayers to pick up the major part of the bill for repairs and maintenance has made this bad situation even worse.
“This could easily be turned into a win win situation with the road upgrades making ADF’s operations more effective and efficient, providing a direct benefit to local primary producers but most importantly making SWBTA access roads safe to travel for all local families and visitors.”