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Monday, 20 August 2001
Page: 29747

Mr HARDGRAVE (5:39 PM) —I rise today to speak about an issue that has been almost 10 years in creation. Back in the times when there was last the coincidence of a state Labor government in Queensland and a federal Labor government here in Canberra a lousy deal, almost done in the middle of the night, transferred a local, very busy road called Kessels Road and its continuum of Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road and its feeder road of Granard Road onto the federal highway list. The gazettal of that as part of the national road freight corridor has of course caused a great sense of pain and suffering to tens of thousands of residents throughout my federal electorate of Moreton. It is interesting to know that it was the last time when a Labor government was in power here and a Labor government was in power in Brisbane that this occurred.

It is very frustrating to note what has been said by the Queensland Minister for Transport, a very lousy man called Steve Bredhauer, who thinks if you see a strip of bitumen the problem must be fixed. He comes from up the honourable member for Leichhardt's way but I am not going to blame the member for Leichhardt for the poor performance of the Queensland transport minister. The minister has said to the Queensland parliament recently that he is getting a bit sick and tired of me on this issue to do with Kessels Road. I can assure you that, if Minister Bredhauer is sick and tired of me now, he had better grab that oxygen bottle because it ain't going to stop as far as I am concerned.

The simple fact of the matter is that residents in my electorate have been given a lousy deal by the Australian Labor Party and the minister in Queensland could not care less about it. I have been campaigning in recent months to try and upgrade my approach on this with a call to remove the toll which exists on the southern Brisbane bypass—the link road of the gateway arterial on to the Logan motorway. Take the toll off. For heavy transporters, the B-double trucks that thunder along Kessels Road—this arterial corridor transferred by Labor 10 years ago—there is a toll of $7.80 each way. And if they go over the Gateway Bridge over to the north side of Brisbane that is another five dollars on top. It is the best part of a $26 round trip for trucks, and with margins so thin in the trucking industry because of higher competition, it is no wonder that truckies are not using this magnificent purpose-built four-lane freeway—now a tollway, although it was never going to be a tollway; it was meant to be built like a freeway and to operate like a freeway, but of course the state government put a toll on it. This southern Brisbane bypass should have the toll taken off it and taken off it now.

The Queensland government, ever so hungry for money to build things like footbridges over the Brisbane River or to upgrade Lang Park into a super stadium— which nobody in Brisbane believes is the right way to spend their money—cannot see the sense in taking the pressure off residents in my electorate, pressure that has been placed upon them with no permission gained in the last 10 years. In fact, before the southern Brisbane bypass link was completed in the mid-nineties, local residents were told for many years that once this thing was opened the truck traffic would come off Kessels Road and the busy suburban roads would be returned essentially to the use of the local community. Let us just say that none of that has occurred at all. Residents in areas like Upper Mount Gravatt, in Robertson, in Macgregor, in Salisbury, in Coopers Plains and even in Rocklea have had to put up with the direct effect of trucks thundering through, many in the middle of the night, many disturbing the sleep that people rightly would expect to have.

Last week, I was doorknocking around residents of Upper Mount Gravatt and I was encouraged greatly by the comments from local residents, who said to me, `Don't walk away from this fight. Get the toll off the southern Brisbane bypass. It is the most sensible solution to our problem. It will liberate us from the pain and suffering, the added stress, of having to put up with all of these trucks and the pollution, both noise and air, that they create.'

It is not just the people who are directly along this road who are affected—the effect is all through the southern suburbs of Brisbane, even along Beaudesert Road at Moorooka, along Ipswich Road at Annerley, along Fairfield Road at Yeronga and up through Fairfield along Venner Road. People along Venner Road have now got to put up with trucks which are finding their way around the toll.

It is no surprise how out of touch Steve Bredhauer is. He should perhaps consult a few of his colleagues when he stops and thinks about how sick and tired he is of Gary Hardgrave on this issue. The Transport Workers Union secretary in Queeensland, Hughie Williams, a man who is not known for beholding himself to any Labor Party policy—he speaks freely and strongly for the rights of transport workers—said on 5 July:

They [truck drivers] often avoided the Gateway tolls because the margins in trucking are so small and the charges are too high.

My point exactly. I am pleased to have the support of Hughie Williams for my efforts. The state Labor member for Yeerongpilly, the Hon. Matt Foley, who is a minister in the Queensland government, said on 5 July to the Southern News:

The option (of cutting the toll) is a fair one.

So another minister in the Queensland government understands better than Minister Bredhauer. Of course, Minister Bredhauer keeps saying that he is sick and tired of me. Even the local state member for Mansfield, Phil Reeves, knows that the toll is the key to getting the trucks off local roads. In May this year, he suggested that the new electronic toll collection system, `e-toll', would provide an incentive for trucks to use the Southern Bypass rather than the Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road/Kessels Road corridor. He said that in the Queensland parliament on 30 May this year. If Mr Reeves is making some sort of proposition that making the payment of the toll easier would impact upon whether trucks would use one particular road or another, he is, in his own codified way—because he is a junior member in the Beattie team—sending a message of support for my efforts. I appreciate Mr Reeves's support, Matt Foley's support and Hughie Williams's support. I ask Steve Bredhauer why he is not acting on the legitimate concerns of well over 1,000 residents who have written to me in recent months to tell me to keep it up.

The only response that has come from the Queensland government is a department to department deal to get the Commonwealth to fund $1 million to survey the corridor. The Queensland government are determined that it must be just that road corridor. They do not understand that McCullough Street, Sunnybank; Padstow Road, Eight Mile Plains; Warrigal Road; Arcoona Street, Sunnybank; Granadilla Street, Macgregor; Mains Road, Macgregor; and Troughton Road—I was nearly run over by a couple of big trucks on Troughton Road, Coopers Plains, the other day—are roads that are alternative routes for trucks. When the Goodwill Games are with us in a couple of weeks time, the Queensland government will shut down Kessels Road between 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock at night for four nights. They believe that it is better to get the spectators of the Goodwill Games out of QEII stadium easily, but they still do not understand that that is peak hour for trucks.

Somebody rang me to say that at 11.30 on Monday night last week a truck tore past her as she drove down Kessels Road. She sped up to try to catch the truck. She confessed that she gave up when it hit 100 kilometres an hour. These B-Double trucks thunder along this road. There are no police patrols because there are only two police cars on the road at night on the south side of Brisbane. There is no direction to trucks from this Queensland government; there is only abuse from the Queensland transport minister.

Of course, a $1 million study is an old trick. In 1995, my Labor predecessor pulled one of these too, when $1 million or thereabouts was given to the Brisbane City Council to look at traffic planning on the south side of Brisbane. It was no coincidence that that roughly mimicked the boundaries of the electorate of Moreton. The report never saw the light of day. The old trick of pulling out a survey or a study that will report in 12-months time is designed to try to stop my ongoing efforts to represent my constituents, who have legitimate concerns, over the months leading up to the election.

I remind members also that even the Brisbane City Council have now put $50,000 down on the table—more money taken out of my area—for yet another study to look at getting the trucks off Beaudesert Road, Moorooka. The Southern Bypass Road is a beautiful purpose-built road, perfectly designed like an autobahn in Germany, but they have slapped a toll on it. As a result of putting a toll on the road, they have completely disturbed and distorted the traffic patterns of the south side of Brisbane. We do not need a $1 million study for this. We do not need any more furphies from the Queensland government, saying that only one in four trucks will come off. What we need is for Steve Bredhauer to get a bit of reality—to listen to some of his caucus colleagues, to listen to what the residents in the electorate of Moreton are saying and to get the toll off the Southern Brisbane Bypass. Get the toll off. The trucks will use that road. The trucks will come off the suburban streets. They will not be running past big schools like Macgregor and Coopers Plains and people will have less stress. (Time expired)