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Thursday, 14 June 2007
Page: 156

Mr HARDGRAVE (12:41 PM) —I am indebted to the Courier-Mail newspaper for finding, buried in the Queensland government’s recent budget, the fact that the government is increasing tax on south-side residents. It seems to typify Labor governments that they want to increase tax and increase debt. There is, around Australia, $58 billion of increased government debt at the state level, at a time when we are building a Future Fund of $50 billion over the forward estimates.

Labor governments are not good at these things. Fuel prices are bad enough, but local residents and motorists in my electorate have the only toll road in the entire state of Queensland—the Logan Motorway and the Gateway Motorway extension. Tolls are going to go up by 10c at each tollbooth, and that means you will pay 20c for a trip starting at the Ipswich Motorway and completing at the Gateway Motorway at Wishart. You might think 20c is not much; that is what the Queensland government are hoping. But add it all up: given that the Gateway and Logan motorways actually have more cars on them than the Gateway Bridge, which is also putting up the toll by 10c a trip each way, with 33,000 motorists travelling along those motorways every day, if you do the simple maths you will see it is $1.1 million a day extra that the Queensland government are going to rip off south-side residents—$1.1 million extra a day.

They are never afraid to take money in stamp duty for new homes and new land and so forth, projects that are very evident in my area; but, when it comes to getting rid of the only toll road in Queensland, what do they do? They increase the toll. Residents are writing to me—I have had hundreds of letters in the last couple of days—

Mr Gibbons interjecting

Mr HARDGRAVE —I have. The member for Bendigo can scoff, but I have. Wayne from Sunnybank has written and said that he is a courier and he uses both toll roads every day. Marjorie from Runcorn has written and said that trucks and other heavy vehicles are using Warrigal Road in increasing numbers; they are going around the tollbooth at Persse Road in Runcorn. John from Calamvale says: ‘For years I have complained about the unfair treatment to south-side residents who have always been hit by tolls; north-side road projects never attract a toll—example, the Nundah bypass and the northern city bypass. It’s totally unfair.’ Terry from Eight Mile Plains said: ‘The trucks speed up Padstow Road doing 80 kilometres plus in a 60 zone. People live in that street—trying to get in and out of driveways.’ There is MacGregor primary school, the biggest primary school in the state of Queensland. These sorts of local roads are suffering as people go around the Beattie government’s toll.

The Beattie government’s toll on the Gateway extension and the Logan Motorway, the southern Brisbane bypass—a purpose-built road, a freeway standard road, the only toll road in Queensland—means that south-side residents are paying a regional tax that no-one else in Queensland is paying.

Mr Neville —Disgraceful.

Mr HARDGRAVE —It is disgraceful, Member for Hinkler. There is no way on earth that they do that in Hinkler—I hope. But why are they doing it to the residents of Sunnybank, Sunnybank Hills, Runcorn, Calamvale, Stretton and Algester? Why are they confronting people with heavy vehicles, B-doubles, using these side streets? If it had not been for the Australian government’s $1.7 million vote of support to residents’ sleep patterns, which has taken 221,000 trucks off the road between 10 at night at five in the morning—a toll-free truck trial over the last couple of years—there would not have been any change. The only change under the Beattie government has been to increase tax.

Let me tell the Main Committee the names of the people on the board of directors of the quango—the quasi-autonomous non-government organisation—that the Beattie government hides behind when it comes to tolls. David Gray is the chairman. He used to be the managing director of Boeing—terrific. The deputy chairman is a bloke called Robert Grice. He is a former chair of the South East Queensland Water Corporation. What a complete disaster he has been. Peter Lynch has been the chair of a variety of legal organisations, including the HIA. Don Muir is a former deputy director-general of the Queensland Department of Main Roads. Alan Tesch is currently the director-general of Main Roads. Rob Wensley QC is a Brisbane barrister. There are two people from the private sector. Then there is Tim Spencer, a chap who is the deputy under-treasurer at Queensland Treasury. They are the ones rubbing their hands together with glee as the money flows in. I would like to be proved wrong, but I do not reckon even one of them lives anywhere near these toll roads. Not one of them lives in the electorate of Moreton, according to my records. If they want to put their hands up and tell me they are a local constituent and they are paying the toll then I will actually go a little softer on them. But, as it currently stands, they inflict on people in my area a toll no-one else in Queensland is paying, and the Beattie government stands condemned. (Time expired)