Road upgrades cut off as jobs go

Emerald Department of Transport and Main Roads office.
Emerald Department of Transport and Main Roads office.

A FUNDING freeze and job cuts will mean Central Highlands roads will not be up to standard to cope with new mining developments.

Road upgrades and improvements will not be possible after the State Government's cost cutting blitz shunts the Emerald and Barcaldine Departments of Transport and Main Roads to Rockhampton, leaving more than 30 workers unemployed with remaining employees instructed to complete only maintenance works on the current roads.

Workers are yet to find out what positions will remain, but hopes have been buoyed by news Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson secured a meeting with TMR director-general Michael Caltabiano and Roads Minister Scott Emerson today.

One worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear their position would be axed in retribution for speaking out, said human resources, finance and road design departments had already been told their jobs would go.

We have been told Emerald will not be getting any more money, and jobs will be going - Anonymous worker

"We've been told six to eight people will be the final number in the office."

The worker said Mr Johnson had been quick to fight for the department, and since news of his meeting with Mr Caltanbiano and Mr Emerson, 10 to 15 people were expected to keep their jobs.

That still cut more than 25 jobs, the worker said, despite Mr Johnson's vow this week it would happen "over my dead body".

"Within two years, there will be no RoadTek crews," the staffer said.

"We won't be doing any major jobs, just maintaining the roads as they are."

The worker said roads had a lifecycle and required resealing every 10 years and rehabilitation every 15 years.

But the funding freeze would mean that would not be possible.

"The funding is just to maintain the roads, and it will be done using private contractors.

"Private contractors are not qualified to do the job to the right standard."

The worker said the lack of roads infrastructure would repel investment.

Mr Emerson failed to respond to questions yesterday.

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