Thanks very much Glen and first of all Claud I won’t be walking it with you, I’ll see you up there. Thanks very much Claud for your Welcome to Country and my respects to you and your forbears. It is indeed a great honour to be in your Country and so thanks for having us all.
Can I recognise the Mayor of the Cassowary Coast, Councillor Bill Shannon and his wife Sue, also the deputy Mayor Bryce Macdonald, Roger Bow the Mayor of Hinchinbrook and I see Rosa Lee Long here champing at the bit to get the other end of the road done as well from the Tablelands Council. Can I also acknowledge Andrew Cripps the local State Member here and also one of the Senior Minister in the State Government who’s work in this area in doing things like what we are doing today has been legend. And Andrew it’s great to see you here and congratulations on what you’ve done. Can I also acknowledge Bob Katter the Federal Member; Bob I know was very active for lobbying for Federal Government funding back immediately following the cyclones so it’s good to see Bob here as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to say whilst Joe Hockey’s last budget wasn’t all that well received everywhere there was one part of it that was well received and that was the $400,000 for this part of the road. $600,000 came out of last years Federal Budget and $400,000 this year and as I say that was the part of the Budget that was universally welcome.
This expenditure by the Federal Government on this particular road is part of some $50 Billion that the Federal Government is paying towards road building around Australia over the next five years, so it’s great to see this locality getting part of this.
Thanks to Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss for his commitment to roads generally and in particular for all of the investment in roads like this one and the Cardwell Range and Esplanade and the passing lanes now almost everywhere to name just a few.
I just wanted today to pay tribute to all of those whose actions and activity and lobbying have meant the re-opening of this wonderful range road. I have travelled it in days gone by, getting up to Blencoe Falls, which again Rosa tells me is in her Shire not in yours Bill, but it is a lovely place to go and I think that with the opening of theis road, so many more tourists passing between Cairns and Townsville will be able to get up and see those magnificent falls and see this wonderful road. But Bill I know that your Council has been on this from day one. I know it hasn’t been easy on your Council and I understand even know there is a bit of dissention over whether the Council should have put in quite a considerable amount of money to it, so thanks very much for your work. Thanks to Christine Inle and the Kirrama Range Support Group. I know you have been very active, we can pick you out very easily with those wonderful shirts that you have got, and I’m sure you will get a big sale of them as well from this wonderful book, Timber and Timberman, I understand says a lot about the road as well.
It is a wonderful day. Congratulations to all of those who have been involved, it’s really significant. Can I just finish by paying tribute to those who like Clauds’ forbears actually built the original road. I’m told in the 1935 to 1939 era, as part of PEI scheme. I understand there are a lot of people associated with that very first crossing who are here today having a bit of a reunion and can I pay tribute to you and join with Claud and recognise those who I’m sure suffered injury and perhaps death during the time of the construction. So I guess this road is a monument to those guys who did the initial work all those years ago. Congratulations to all those involved in this. Well Done.