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Queensland and NSW must solve Tugun crisis.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

10 March 2004 A31/2004

QUEENSLAND AND NSW MUST SOLVE TUGUN CRISIS

Only the Queensland and New South Wales governments can solve the crisis involving the route of the Tugun bypass, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, revealed today.

Mr Anderson said he had received clear legal advice rebutting claims made by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and making it clear that:

● declaring the proposed road a National Highway under the Australian Land Transport

Development Act 1988 would not enable NSW environmental and planning laws to be overridden. Nor would this action enable the Australian Government minister to force NSW to cooperate; ● it would be unlawful for the Australian Government to acquire land for an airport

extension and then use that land for a road; ● there is no power for the Federal minister to order the Gold Coast Airport Limited

(GCAL) to build a road on airport land inconsistent with the airport Master Plan; and ● there is no power to unilaterally excise land from the airport site.

"In short, the avenues identified by Mr Beattie are blind alleys," Mr Anderson said. "I would be acting unlawfully if I implemented them and Mr Beattie should stop trying to shamelessly make the Australian Government the butt of public anger.

"The Australian Government does not acquire land for roads. States do. The Australian Government is not a builder, owner or operator of roads traversing State land. The Australian Government's role in relation to road building and maintenance is, for good reason, limited to providing financial assistance grants to States for those purposes.

"It is wrong to say that by declaring the Tugun bypass a National Highway I am able to act unilaterally to override state environmental laws, or force a State to engage in any particular road building enterprise, or enable the Australian Government to engage in that enterprise. Such a declaration would permit me to do nothing more than make grants of financial assistance to a State to construct the bypass.

"The Australian Government's assistance of $120 million remains on the table to build a bypass - not a road through Tugun. But Queensland must sort out route issues with NSW.

"This bypass is too important to the Gold Coast and indeed the Tweed and Brisbane regions -

and community anger should not be fuelled by ignorant comments. I again ask Queensland and NSW to work this thing through, rationally and rigorously."

Mr Anderson is today meeting Queensland's Transport Minister, Paul Lucas, in Canberra, and expects to receive an update on negotiations between the two states.

Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 02 6277 7680