LNP’s highway double-up
Ipswich MP skeptical on ‘stocktake’
IPSWICH MP Jennifer Howard has dismissed the state opposition’s plan for congestion-busting roads for south-east Queensland as lacking substance.
Opposition leader Tim Nicholls this week outlined his intention to investigate a multi-billion dollar network of duplicate highways as part of a “motorway stocktake”.
The Ipswich Motorway, Centenary Hwy, and M1 were all included in the plan.
The announcement – which could change the face of the southeast – cements infrastructure as a key election battleground and gives the Opposition a significant point of difference compared with Labor’s public transport and Cross River Rail focus.
But Ms Howard said the LNP was yet to present a proper plan and pointed out that nothing had been funded.
The LNP has not committed any money to building new routes but says, if elected, it would review all available and potential corridors for new urban arterial roads to cater to future population growth in a carrot to drivers sick of crawling through traffic.
Ms Howard said the State Government was already progressing with the $400 million Rocklea-Darra stretch of the Ipswich Motorway.
The State Government is splitting the cost of the project with the Federal Government.
“For the second year in a row we’ve committed a record $20 billion through the Queensland Transport Road Infrastructure Plan, which the LNP voted for mind you,” Ms Howard said.
“The way I see it is public transport is critical. The Cross River Rail is a major investment that will benefit so many people.”
Mr Nicholls this week criticised the State Government for it lack of a plan to combat congestion of major roads.
He said major roads could not be widened indefinitely and it was critical to plan for the future.
“This is why we are fighting for a second M1,” he said.
“It’s why we need to look for alternatives to the Bruce and in the western corridor and find a way to connect a second M1 to Brisbane without going through conservation areas.”
Alternatives include a route from Brisbane to Stapylton tracking west of the M1, a Western Orbital Motorway, an alternative Bruce Highway between North Lakes to the Gateway and a Beaudesert to Nerang link.
It came as LNP deputy leader Deb Frecklington launched another petition to duplicate the Beerburrum to Nambour rail line on the Sunshine Coast, funded through a $10 billion Commonwealth rail-building fund.
Meanwhile, the Premier refused to say whether she supported the LNP’s suggestion to build a second M1 on the Gold Coast.
Ms Palaszczuk also refused to answer whether her Government was planning on building the road after it finished gazetting a 37km transport corridor between Stapylton and Nerang in May.
“My Government is building the extension to the light rail,” she said.
“I’m quite sure that once that second stage of the light rail is complete we will start seeing a lot of people move off the roads and on to public transport.
“I would like to see more of our cars off the road and propel utilising public transport.”
She pointed to Transport and Main Roads costings that estimated a roadworks bill of $2.4 billion – almost five times the $500 million Mr Nicholls said it would cost. But those costings are for a six-lane road when the corridor can only fit four lanes.
DOUBLE TAKE: The LNP says it will investigate duplicate highway options as part of a plan to reduce congestion.