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16 May, 2021

Knuth adamant region needs new Kuranda Bypass Road

You won’t find many people more passionate about the Atherton Tablelands and its surrounds than Member for Hill, Shane Knuth. For 17 years Mr Knuth has tirelessly advocated for his rural and regional constituents. Express journalist Michael Warren sat down with the State MP to ask him some pressing questions about his electorate .

By Michael Warren

Hill MP Shane Knuth believes the Kuranda bypass road should be built as a matter of priority.

You won’t find many people more passionate about the Atherton Tablelands and its surrounds than Member for Hill, Shane Knuth. For 17 years Mr Knuth has tirelessly advocated for his rural and regional constituents. Express journalist Michael Warren sat down with the State MP to ask him some pressing questions about his electorate  

Shane, the Coronavirus vaccine rollout… when can we expect to see it properly rolled out across The Tablelands? 

In short that’s still hard to tell. On one hand there’s a notion the vaccine needs to be rolled out as quickly as possible, on the other there’s some people who are wary of adverse reactions from having it. I’d like to say more but we’re being more so guided on this by the Federal Government. 

The most talked about issue this year besides the impacts of Coronavirus has been the ongoing push for the construction of the Kuranda Bypass road… what you are doing personally to make this a reality for the constituents in your electorate? 

A simple solution to relieve the constant traffic flow on the Kuranda Range Road and to provide direct and fast access from Mareeba to Cairns is the construction of the Kuranda Bypass road. We’ve already tabled a petition calling for this to be taken very, very seriously by Government. 

We’ve also had a number of meetings with the Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey MP in pursuance of this project. We also need the Federal Government to come on board. 

 We do acknowledge the Federal Government has indicated they’re prepared to look at it if indeed the State Government is prepared to fund their part.

Is this a pipe dream though Shane? as you have indicated locals have waited decades for this road to be built, what makes this a serious possibility now? 

This is no pipedream; this is the real deal. Obviously it would take 40 minutes off the regular commute between Cairns and the wider Tablelands. More broadly it would provide faster access to our ports across the Tablelands, and greater access to the Gulf of Carpentaria. 

It would also encourage more investment in these regions; the greatest detriment we have is we can’t get sizeable road trains down the Kuranda Range and by having access to road trains it would provide greater export certainty and also increased business and progress.

The issue and impact of juvenile crime around the Tablelands won’t go away. I know you have a steadfast belief there is a very simple solution to this. What is it? 

At the moment there are three options; the first is to release them upon arrest and immediately see them back on the streets committing the same crimes. The second is to lock juveniles up, however there’s a lot of evidence to suggest they then exit jail more of a professional criminal than what they were before entering. Lastly the feedback we’ve received over the years is that relocation sentencing is the ideal solution. It gives judges a third option. 

The theory is you send off enders to remote locations, teach them values, teach them respect, put them to work and introduce programs that have proven to work in the past. This immediately banishes them from the community. Upon time in isolation, it gives them the best chance to return with a new outlook and a reduced want to commit crimes. 

The bi-annual Field Days is an event that galvanizes and brings together so many people around the region. You must be looking forward to it? 

It’s an event that unites a lot of people and gets the community involved. It’s a brilliant promotion for the area. A lot of people walk away with great deals and bargains. It’s one of those events you pencil in at the start of the year and look forward to it as it gets closer  


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