Labor to drop major road upgrade
LABOR’S lord mayoral candidate has promised to scrap a major road upgrade, in a move that would risk hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation payouts.
Industry groups warned it set a dangerous precedent and could chase away investment if business confidence fell due to uncertainty over major projects.
Candidate Rod Harding ( pictured) yesterday promised to dramatically slash the $650 million Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade to instead target suburban congestion hot spots and fast-track the Wynnum Rd upgrade by two years. But the long-delayed project is already out to tender, with a contract due to be signed in November, well before the March 2016 poll.
About 15 resumptions costing $28.6 million have already taken place and negotiations a r e under way for 24 more. Mr Harding said he would ask Lord Mayor Graham Quirk not to sign the contract before the election, saying to do so would “be hubris in the extreme”. “Let the people of Brisbane make the call at the next election,” he said.
But he warned that if he did win and the contract was signed, he would still scrap the upgrade.
Mr Harding said the current plan for Kingsford Smith Drive was not urgent because traffic volumes on it were lower than they were 10 years ago.
But council infrastructure chairman Adrian Schrinner said as well as racking up a massive compensation bill, scrapping the project would cost thousands of jobs.
“This is what Labor did in Victoria when they cancelled the East-West Link, which left the State Government with a bill of over $400 million and no project,” he said.
Infrastructure Association of Queensland boss Roger Black said it would make major companies wary about investing in projects.