Caboolture Housing Growth Outstrips Road Infrastructure In Leaps and Bounds

By Staff Writer Mozza

The Queensland Government continues to approve housing development at a rate that outstrips its transport investment strategy, causing great frustration to locals using the Bruce Highway and Bribie Island Road.

The large parcel of former farm land known as Caboolture West will be developed into a new housing district the size of Bundaberg as part of a planning experiment by the state government and we are the guinea pigs.

A specialist team of government planners was created last month to accelerate plans to turn the corridor between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast into a 200km city, growing to 5 million residents making it the same population currently in Sydney. Yes great, because Sydney siders never complain about overcrowding.

Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Steven Miles who is leading this initiative said the development would improve housing choice and affordability. It is very fortunate that our local state MP Ali King was a staffer in Mr Miles office before entering Parliament so local consultation should be thorough and meaningful.

He said “Caboolture West will ultimately be a major regional urban centre that will support 17,000 jobs and have many social benefits such as new health and education centres as well as sport and recreation facilities”.

Unfortunately Mr Miles poor relationship with the federal government will make it difficult for him to win their support to pay for the infrastructure needed to underpin his plan. Locals will ultimately suffer as a result of this immature politicking. What we all need is an end to the jibes and a start to a co-operative state and federal plan for the area that consults locals and includes the local council.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia who represents developers warned last year that large parts of South East Queensland had fallen behind standard land availability benchmarks that allow developers to prosper.

No joint statement by the Queensland Transport Minister on the proposal has been made at this stage and we will need to lobby as locals and make our voice heard, so the left hand of government knows what the right hand is doing.

Don’t forget this development comes on top of the planned North Harbour Development at Burpengary and the East Caboolture Development underway at Elimbah. The combined total of new residents in our area at the completion of these 3 projects will be huge compared to what we have at the moment. Were you asked about all of this? I’m thinking no.

One reason the Transport Minister has not been involved in these announcements may be that he has another set of problems on his hands which prevent him from improving roads in our area. Those problems include the huge cost of other Brisbane City projects such as Cross River Rail and Queens Wharf as well as overdue maintenance of existing roads.

The cost of required maintenance on Queensland’s state controlled roads has climbed by more than $400m in just one year, with dozens of bridges and culverts needing repair.

The estimated cost of the deferred maintenance backlog for state roads reached a massive $5.85bn as of June 30 last year – up 8 per cent from the previous financial year.

The opposition has seized on the figures to accuse the government of losing control of road maintenance.

But the government insists the total length of the network that needs programmed maintenance or rehabilitation works fell by 204km during 2019-20.

As of the end of the last financial year, there were 60 bridges and 54 major culverts with certified structure management plans to ensure their “continued safe operation”.

Of the state’s 4848 major culverts, 1,269 – or about one in four – were given a rating of “poor or very poor”.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said road material and construction costs had been rising, which in part reflected the climbing cost of the maintenance forecast.

“However, we continue to make gains on the maintenance program in real terms,” he said.

“Since June 2019, we’ve reduced the total length of road network requiring maintenance or rehabilitation by more than 200km.

“Over the next four years, we’ll spend about $1.1 billion a year maintaining the state’s roads.”

As of June 30, 2020:

- The estimated deferred maintenance backlog on the state-controlled road network was $5.852b

- Of the state’s 4848 major culverts, 136 have a rating of 'very poor'

- There were 60 bridges and 54 major culverts with certified structure management plans.

LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin claimed the government had “completely lost control of road maintenance”.

“While Labor’s Big Black Hole (Cross River Rail) sucks up all the cash, road users across the state are left to deal with more potholes, more dodgy bridges and more dangerous roads,” he said.

“The Labor Government was warned by the Auditor-General three years ago that there were serious problems with Queensland’s roads.”

The government says that since 2016, the total length of the state controlled road network that requires rehabilitation or resurfacing has fallen by 847km.

Locals will also be frustrated at the glacial speed of the roadworks at the Old Toorbul Road intersection which at times is like a construction site ghost town with tumble weeds blowing past idle machinery while drivers wait and wait.

The oversight of outsourced road construction by the Department of Transport is appalling when simple intersections can take so long. Surely the contract has penalty clauses for contractors who drag the chain on important projects like these. Apparently not, meanwhile the rest of Bribie Island Road needing upgrading waits and waits. Don’t even think about a second bridge that appears to be lost in feasibility study land.

The unintended consequences of accelerated land development without accelerated road development could cripple our area for years while they play catch up. In many areas of Brisbane the game of catch up never ends which is why they all want to move to Bribie. Don’t let them ruin it - contact your local state MP today and have your say.

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