A CALL for three levels of government to work together to fix problems on the Mount Lindesay Highway appears doomed with Wright MP Scott Buchholz and Queensland Transport minister Mark Bailey locked in a war of words.
Mr Buchholz, recently appointed assistant roads and transport minister in new Prime minister Scott Morrison’s Australian government, has threatened to make the make the Mount Lindesay an election issue using it to campaign against the Queensland government at the forthcoming state election.
Queensland Transport minister Mark Bailey, meanwhile said chaos in Canberra must be taking it toll, with Mr Buccholz, seeming unaware his own government had committed $16 million towards safety works at the North Maclean section of the Mount Lindesay Highway.
Logan Country City Safe chair David Kenny said the region was clearly locked in its own version of the civil war, leaving the Logan City Council and local citizens to advocate.
“North of Jimboomba we have the red army safely in the fort of Logan and south of Jimboomba, we have the blue army safely in the fort of the Scenic Rim.
“Meanwhile, it’s the community who run the gauntlet of the Mount Lindesay Highway trying not only to survive the experience but avoid it altogether.
Mr Buchholz said his new appointment could not guarantee any quick fixes on Mount Lindesay, a state highway.
“The state government is not going to sneak through the back door on this,” Mr Buchholz said.
“It will be held to account for its under-investment.
“People have the ability to make their opinion heard through the ballot box. State elections are coming. Federal elections come first.
“I will make sure everyone knows this is a state road and let the people have their say.”
Mr Buchholz said the state government had known for 15 years that there would be a problem with Mount Lindesay.
“They knew it when they started planning the Bromelton Industrial Estate at Beaudesert where we’ve put in an inter-modal railway hub,” he said.
“They knew it when they were planning (development at) Yarrabilba 15 years ago.
“They knew it when they were planning Greenbank too – about the extra pressure these developments would put on the Mount Lindesay Highway yet nothing has been done.”
Mr Buchholz said if the state government wanted to talk about fixing the highway, he would oblige.
“The state government can’t keep pushing back and saying to the federal government this is your issue. No it’s not. I can’t make it simpler than that,” he said.
Mr Buchholz said he sympathised with Mount Lindesay Highway users.
“I ride that road every day. I feel your pain,” he said.
“I am the motorist who sits in the Mount Lindesay car park. That’s how I get to Brisbane – on the Mount Lindesay. I get it.”
Mr Buchholz said road the federal government was responsible for three highways which cut through his electorate – the Bruce, the Warrego and the Cunningham.
He said if Logan City Council was lobbying the federal government for Mount Lindesay to become part of the national freight route, it hoped for an easy fix.
“There are no easy rides,” Mr Buccholz said.
Mr Bailey said chaos in Canberra was clearly taking its toll.
“Sadly that’s not surprising, given Mr Buchholz still hasn’t found the time to call me after his appointment as the new federal Assistant Minister for Roads three weeks into the job.
“I certainly offer him the opportunity to be briefed on the Mt Lindesay Highway so he’s actually aware of the basic facts in relation to the highway.
“Mr Buchholz seems more interested in political games in Canberra than knowing what’s going on in his own backyard.
“Residents in his electorate are entitled to feel outraged at his refusal to even talk with his own community about funding for the highway upgrades.
“If he picked up the phone, he might be interested to hear about the more than $78 million that will be invested by the Palaszczuk State Labor Government and Australian governments to deliver staged upgrades of the Mount Lindesay Highway.
“Major Mount Lindesay Highway works currently underway are expected to be finished by 2020-21 and include:
- $20 million for works between Rosia Road to Stoney Camp Road
- $14 million for works at Stockleigh Road, South Maclean
- $20 million for works from Camp Cable Road to Johanna Street / Tamborine Street, Jimboomba
Mr Bailey said the Australian Government was spending $16 million on safety works at the North Maclean section of the Mount Lindesay Highway while the Palaszczuk Government was spending $4 million.
The Labor Government had also committed a further $3.09 million investment in planning for works along Mount Lindesay Highway between Greenbank and Jimboomba,” he said.
Mr Kenny called for common sense.
“We need a tri-partisan approach to fixing this ever growing daily issue which tends to be ignored by elected members who continue to break election promises while we get bandaid solutions.
“It is only the Logan City Council and the community that is doing any advocacy work in area on the Mt Lindesay Highway and roads, infrastructure including police and emergency services and public transport including passenger rail.”
“It shouldn’t matter who I voted for or who you voted for. Those who are voted in should be fixing the problems. It’s time to look to the future and not to the past. We need to forget what happened before and get on with governing in a proper.
“Our problems are not just state and not just Federal. What I’m saying is Mount Lindesay is a whole of community problem. Until it’s fixed we die and suffer on the roads.”