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Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Page: 303

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (09:33): Last Wednesday I was heading out to the flood affected Somerset region along the Warrego Highway and I was held up at the Blacksoil Interchange as I tried to access the Brisbane Valley Highway—a common occurrence made worse by the floods. As I sat in the traffic, one of my constituents from Brassall called me expressing his frustration that he was gridlocked as he tried to access the Warrego Highway. With flood impacted bridges and roads, a large number of vehicles had been forced onto the Warrego Highway and it was chaos—far more than 40,000 vehicles, which usually travel through the intersection along that road. The frustration was compounded by the fact that the upgrade to the Blacksoil Interchange would have assisted to alleviate the gridlock. This federal Labor government agreed with the Bligh Labor government before the last state election to upgrade the Blacksoil Interchange—a $70 million project, $54 million coming from the federal government and $16 million from the state government. In fact, the federal government provided the $54 million and did it by June last year. The $54 million was provided under the Regional Infrastructure Fund, which those opposite voted against. This money is sitting in the coffers of the LNP state government in Queensland earning interest and doing nothing. So far, the coalition government in Queensland has done absolutely nothing on the project.

Those opposite complain about infrastructure, but they are parsimonious rather than progressive when it comes to infrastructure spending. In Queensland we have funded rail, road and ports to $8.7 billion—more than double the funding of the Howard coalition government.

The economic development of our region is being held back, and lives have been put at risk on a daily basis. The project has blown out to $94 million in large part because of the constant delays and inactivity of the coalition government in Queensland. They have said that the reason for the delay is that they want to redesign an access point on a service road. That is a bit like refusing to lay the slab and building the structure of a house because you are not happy with the location of the dishwasher in the kitchen.

On 14 January 2012, I joined then Premier Bligh in announcing the opening of the tenders, which was interrupted by the election. Signs went up, and 13 months have passed. The coalition government was elected in March 2012 in Queensland. They have seen the project blow out, have done nothing on the project and have opposed road infrastructure in the region. This is typical of what they have done with their opposition to the upgrade of Ipswich Motorway. The coalition government have a horrible record in my area when it comes to road infrastructure. They have opposed the Dinmore to Goodna section of Ipswich Motorway—a $1.7 billion project, delivered on time—in fact, six months ahead of schedule—and under budget.

The people of Blair have had enough of the folly and the failings of the coalition government in Queensland. It is time to start working on the Blacksoil Interchange, it is time for activity and it is time to stop procrastinating.