TASMANIAN Senator Eric Abetz has reconfirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to the replacement of the Bridgewater Bridge.
Following statements by three southern mayors in recent weeks questioning the Bridge’s replacement Senator Abetz said it the bridge was a major election commitment funded within both the Federal and State Budgets, and it would be delivered.
“Attempting to siphon funding from the Bridge replacement in favour of other projects is not a constructive approach,” Senator Abetz said.
“To re-allocate funding from Tasmania’s biggest ever infrastructure project funded by a Federal Government would sell all Tasmanians short.
Senator Abetz said the Federal Government was investing heavily in infrastructure around Tasmania and Australia.
“We are happy to engage and consider further projects or initiatives. However, it shouldn’t be a case of local mayors eyeing off funding for major projects in neighbouring areas, particularly when a project like the Bridgewater Bridge is of major regional and statewide significance.
“The Bridgewater Bridge is part of Highway 1, and a vital freight corridor which underpins our jobs and economic well-being.”
Senator Abetz said Tasmania lost the opportunity for a replacement bridge a decade ago after local mayors and the State Labor Government walked away from a proposal.
“We cannot allow this to happen again,” he said.
“Tasmania needs long-term strategic planning which includes a bridge which will not impede river traffic. The height of the bridge will determine for decades the type of future river traffic able to use the Derwent River. The Derwent Valley’s future potential could be compromised by short-term thinking.”
Senator Abetz said the Tasmanian Government was currently in the process of developing a final design for the bridge replacement to ensure the new bridge was fit-for-purpose and delivered a project in the best interests of all Tasmanians.
“The Tasmanian Federal Liberal Team will always work with local councils to assist with their particular priorities but we are not minded to compromise this vital piece of nation building infrastructure.”