Tasmanian Times

Politics

TOPICS: Midlands Highway

Please note this transcript is not formally proofed.

Dave:

You have got a campaign going to try and improve the Midland Highway, which we have so many people ringing about they are just disgusted with the condition of it.

Will Hodgman:

We reckon it’s a no brainer. [inaudible]. Graeme Sturges needs to get out of his office and drive this road more often. It’s in an appalling state, and we reckon that Tasmanians deserves a better standard of roads. It’s a National highway, but it’s certainly not National highway standard.

Dave:

We talked to him this morning and he said there’s a $190m so that they can spend on it right now. Is that going to fix the issue?

Will Hodgman:

No. They are doing a lot of important patch up work. But look what Tasmanians want to see is a bit of longer term vision, lay down a commitment, let’s get the road up to a proper four lane divided highway. There are safety improvements you will get out of that. The Government’s own report says that by 2030 there will be 70% more trucks on the road, 40% more cars, so you can imagine what it’s going to be like. I think we need to start planning and actually set down a long term commitment. What’ve got now is second best.

Dave:

Is there really money for it? That’s the question. What we hear is you say that you are going to build a road and if you get into Office, then are you going to do it, or is this going to be one of those promises that fall by the wayside?

Will Hodgman:

We are totally committed to it. It’s a Federal highway, so the bulk of the money will come from the Federal Government. What we need is the State Government here that’s prepared to go to Canberra, and say this is a priority project for Tasmania. No ifs, no buts. We don’t get that from Graeme Sturges and David Bartlett. They are accepting second best. Tasmanians deserves better.

Dave:

Why are the roads in the North – and we have got our own opinion on that – there are no questions that the road between say Launceston and Devonport, Devonport to Burnie is in terrific nick. It’s four lane divided highway a lot of the way. Why has that happen in your opinion?

Will Hodgman:

Well some cynics would say it’s because of politics and they are marginal seats up there.

Dave:

Be honest, is it?

Will Hodgman:

There’s a good argument for that. So let’s take the politics out of it. Say the rest of Tasmania deserves the standard of roads that people up in the North West gets to enjoy, and let’s make it a priority. I am happy to go to Canberra with David Bartlett and say to Kevin Rudd, this is a priority for Tassie, but for whatever reason Bartlett and Sturges are happy to get second best.

Dave:

Kevin Rudd said there’s not money for it?

Will Hodgman:

Why would he not say that, when you have got a Premier not giving it priority status? We needed somebody to go and argue for the State, not just accept what we’ve got and say it’s good enough. Well a longer term plan, a commitment and from our point of view, what we will do is argue long and hard until it’s done.

Dave:

Do you know anything about the Patagonian tooth-weed, that’s apparently, is an endangered species on the side of the highway? Graeme Sturges apparently told us this morning, and he said there is a weed on the side of the highway. Have you heard about that?

Will Hodgman:

It wouldn’t surprise me to say, I think this is when I am going to turn a blind eye. This looks like an accident waiting to happen what you are about to do.

Kim:

Well that’s why we love you to stand around, because not only you are the Opposition Leader, you are also a lawyer, so as Dave fires up this hedge trimmer, if he gets in any trouble, do we have assurance from you Will that you’ll defend us?

Will Hodgman:

Looks that he’s taken his life into his own hands, so I wouldn’t want to be acting for him if anything goes wrong.
Will Hodgman MP Kim and Dave Show, Heart 107.3FM

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