The fate of Forde will soon be decided, with the counting of postal votes beginning today.
When counting of votes cast at polling places closed on Sunday morning a slim 149 votes separated Labor’s Des Hardman, who is in the lead and LNP incumbent Bert van Manen.
The two candidate preference reveals a 4.49 per cent swing away from the incumbent.
Many, including Mr Hardman, believes the failure of the federal government to adequately address and fund upgrades to the maligned M1 is largely responsible for the loss of confidence in the federal member.
Logan Chamber of Commerce president Bill Richards said although Mr van Manen had been a member of the M1 Taskforce and had “certainly been fighting for it,” his failure to secure a federal funding commitment for it earlier in the campaign had hurt him substantially on the hustings.
“Labor had campaigned hard on the issue of the M1 from day one,” he said.
“The coalition’s party line has always been a 50-50 funding split for the M1, which has definitely hurt Mr van Manen, who is now copping it with a massive swing away from him.”
On June 22 Mr van Manen was joined by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce a commitment of $215 million for two upgrades on the M1 corridor between Eight Mile Plains and Springwood, and Mudgeeraba and Varsity Lakes.
The announcement was criticised by the state government and Logan City Council. Logan Mayor Luke Smith expressed his disappointment and concern that a re-elected LNP government would offer only 50 per cent funding towards a partial upgrade of the M1 at the Gateway merge.
In April, the ALP committed $168 million to fund a 4.5km stretch on the southbound side between Eight Mile Plains and the Springwood-Rochedale Rd exit, which includes a $42 million contribution from the State Government under an 80-20 funding split.
Cr Smith said he had been optimistic about seeing the LNP match Labor’s offer of an 80-20 funding commitment to the M1 during the election campaign, but was frustrated when the federal government offered only 50 per cent funding for the upgrade.
“The 80-20 funding split is a precedent that has been well established for roads forming part of the National Key Freight Route, which includes the M1,” he said.
“The M1 has been used as a political point scoring tool for over a decade, and residents and businesses of Logan are fed up with having to pay the price for government inaction.”
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