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Speech – Glass House Electorate, Road Infrastructure (5 April 2011)

 Mr POWELL (Glass House–LNP) (5.56 pm): This week in Glass House we have seen yet more frustrating examples of this toxic and tired Bligh Labor government, and its unwillingness to stand up to its federal counterparts. On 23 March my office received a response from the Premier to a request I made on 9 February. My request was pretty simple. Given that Grigor Bridge at Conondale had been considerably damaged during the January floods, would the Premier give consideration to replacing it as part of the flood reconstruction?
To me and my constituents in Conondale, the request seemed reasonable. Transport and Main Roads persist in throwing good money after bad repairing the bridge, instead of completely replacing it. Yes, in the short term the cost is less, but over the long run the repair bills start adding up and they will certainly swamp the $18 million price tag for replacing the decrepit timber structure with a modern flood proof concrete formation. But it was the same old tired response from the Premier. TMR would ‘redesign and reconstruct the side track that was washed away during the flood’ and ‘carry out further repairs to Grigor Bridge’, repairs that are expected to take up to eight months. It was not the answer that I or the people of Conondale sought, but it was the answer that we expected.
 
The news is the same for the people of Beerwah, Glasshouse Mountains and Bells Creek. Following a tragic double fatality at the notorious Bells Creek interchange on the Bruce Highway, I wrote to the federal Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, pleading that the interchange upgrades not be delayed because of the flood recovery. The minister’s response sounded as tired as the Premier’s–
 
… the deferral of construction works on a number of Nation Building projects, including the Caboolture and Caloundra upgrade, was necessary to free up funding and skilled workers to ensure there is a capacity for the rebuilding of essential infrastructure.
 
He continued–
 
The deferral of funding for projects on the Bruce Highway will delay the commencement of works by two to three years.
As I said when the delay was first announced, this is heaping tragedy upon tragedy. Yes, the floods were tragic, and the reconstruction a priority, but why do important safety upgrades such as this interchange improvement need to suffer? How many more will die during the two to three year delay? It is just not good enough.
 
To conclude the disappointment for the constituents of Glass House, just yesterday I received formal communication from the Minister for Energy and Water Utilities confirming that he has decided to make the designation for certain land to become community infrastructure under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, guaranteeing that Energex’s planned SunCoast power project along Eudlo Creek will proceed.
There was no mention of a species management plan to protect the platypus community. There was no mention of Energex’s appalling record of community consultation–a record that saw the biggest stakeholder, the Sunshine Coast Grammar School, only formally briefed last Tuesday. There was no mention of the alternative options–alternatives that would have had far less social and environmental impact. The common thread across these three examples is the lazy approach of this tired Bligh Labor government. It is time for a change. It is time for energy, vision and leadership for all of Queensland. Campbell Newman and the LNP team stand ready to provide this change for Queensland.

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