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Community & Business

29 March, 2021

One lane of communication

OPINION - It has taken months for TMR to announce it, but the Barron River Bridge needs replacing.

It has taken months for TMR to announce it, but the Barron River Bridge needs replacing

OPINION - One lane of communication

It has taken months for TMR to announce it, but the Barron River Bridge needs replacing. I have been sending weekly emails to the department asking for confirmation of what we already knew. That the bridge is old and needs to be replaced, but this column is not about the bridge. It is about TMR and CHHHS and local members all the other government departments that think they are above serving the public and answering basic questions. For example, last week we asked TMR three simple questions.

“What is the delay with the report? When will it be completed? And when will it be handed to the Minister”?

TMR issued a statement. “Investigations and repairs are ongoing on the Barron River Bridge at Kuranda,"

“We are finalising a report on the best way to manage the bridge, including on-going monitoring, remedial works and a timeframe for the single-lane closure.

“We will provide an update as soon as possible.”

We got similar answers from the Member for Barron River and Cook.

During the peak of the COVID lockdowns, we could not get any local information about the COVID situation from CHHHS who stubbornly refused to allow anybody to know how many COVID cases there were on the Tablelands, instead choosing to lump all the numbers together.

I can understand if a topic has commercial sensibilities or is a threat to national security, but the above examples affect the safety and wellbeing of all our lives, but public servants who work under elected officials can keep us in the dark.

It is a pity that the rules do not apply the other way.

Currently, a Queensland journalist is facing the threat of jail unless he reveals his confidential source. His name and employer have been suppressed by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (QCCC).

The QCCC want to know who his source was that tipped him off to a murder investigation and are threatening him with jail if he doesn’t reveal his source.

It is highly hypocritical of the Queensland Government to refuse important information like the safety of the Barron River Bridge or if there is any COVID in your neighbourhood, but when a journalist will not reveal the source of his story, they threaten jail.

All the journalist did was report on some facts, whereas the above departments withheld information that threated our health and safety.

The Journalist’s case is currently being heard behind closed doors so that the media cannot report on it.

If only the rules applied both ways. How much information do you think we would have if we could threaten a public servant with jail if they refused to reveal whether a bridge that thousands of people travel across is safe or not.

Queensland law gives the media no special protection, but public servants are free to duck and weave with no repercussions. This is the wrong way around and it's just the way the government likes it.  


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