QUEANBEYAN Mayor Tim Overall describes a roads funding announcement by the member for Eden-Monaro on Tuesday as a political stunt and a useless distraction. However, Mike Kelly suggests the criticism is a political ploy for the election campaign because Mr Overall is associated with the Liberal Party.
The row erupted after Dr Kelly appeared with Labor councillor Brian Brown on Tuesday, pledging $38 million to build Dunns Creek Road, linking the new Googong housing development to the Monaro Highway.
''With the new Googong housing development expected to increase the population of Queanbeyan by 16,000 people, and total vehicles on Queanbeyan's roads projected to more than double to over 46,000 by 2031, the road network will experience a major challenge,'' Dr Kelly said. ''The time to address that challenge is now, and the best way to do it is by building the Dunns Creek Road ... a project the local community has been calling for.''
Mr Overall said Queanbeyan Council's highest priority for road construction was the Ellerton Drive extension, as identified in the Googong and Tralee Traffic Study.
''Dunns Creek Road is not a priority of Queanbeyan City Council or the Queanbeyan community, and constructing this road before Ellerton Drive would be an extravagant waste of public funds,'' he said.
Dr Kelly said he was surprised the council's mayor and general manager did not attend a meeting of the Queanbeyan Development Board on Tuesday to discuss roads.
''In my personal view, we shouldn't push ahead with the Ellerton Drive extension until we see what falls out from having done Dunns Creek Road and Pialligo Road, and then see if it's necessary,'' Dr Kelly said.
"That's my personal view, so that doesn't stop the council from moving ahead with the Ellerton Drive extension if they so choose.
"The general manager and the mayor have not come to see me with a specific dollar request for the Ellerton Drive extension. They have met with [Liberal candidate] Peter Hendy and Tony Abbott but they haven't come to see me.
''I do know that obviously Tim Overall and I are not from the same political end of the spectrum.
''[Liberal figures] handed out for the mayor at the last council election and Mr Overall attended the opening of Mr Hendy's campaign office. I don't know if that reflects an interest in only dealing with one side,'' Dr Kelly said.
Mr Overall replied on Tuesday evening he wrote to major party candidates earlier this year seeking their support for a long-term interest-free Commonwealth funding agreement to ensure construction of the Ellerton Drive extension was achieved before 2018.
''If being an independent mayor is at a different end of the political spectrum, well, so be it,'' he said.
"I was pleased to be invited recently by Mr Hendy to brief Tony Abbott on Council's community priorities and the critical importance of the Ellerton Drive extension as the community's and Council's No 1 priority.
"It is disappointing that the Member for Eden-Monaro has not once extended such a courtesy to the mayor on the occasion of visits by Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd but rather has limited attendance on such occasions to his party colleague Cr Brown."
Related story: Divided on Dunns Creek Road