Delays put critical infrastructure for South East Queensland at risk
Published 14 September 2023
City of Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery today called for urgent action to ensure Council can deliver the Youngs Crossing Road and Bridge project that has been delayed due to funding uncertainty created by Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government the Hon Catherine King MP.
The project, relying on $32.75 million of federal funding, is currently tied up in the Federal Government’s Independent Strategic Review of its Infrastructure Investment Program.
“Today marks 136 days since Minister King put this critical project in doubt,”Mayor Peter Flannery said.
“We can’t afford to wait for this project to be evaluated again by Canberra bureaucrats and this so called ‘90 day review’ has created significant uncertainty.
“The cost of construction continues to rise while we wait on a decision, and we need assurance for the full commitment of funding now.
“This is one of the biggest road infrastructure projects to be delivered by City of Moreton Bay; we’ve completed the design work, allocated resources and we are ready to go to tender now.
“The review was completed last month and yet we are still waiting on news about this flagship infrastructure project for South East Queensland.
“It’s been years in the making and more than $80 million has been committed, including Council itself assigning a massive $32.25 million to the project.
“We were allocated funding in 2022 under the previous Government, but the need has now exceeded even what we envisaged back then, so I do hope we can all rise above politics and a decision can be made quickly so we can go to tender as soon as possible.
“City of Moreton Bay is the fastest growing area of South East Queensland and this is a critical link for the whole of Queensland’s road network."
A crucial north-south arterial, Youngs Crossing Road is used by approximately 20,000 vehicles every day, and traffic is forecast to increase to 27,500 vehicles by 2036. During heavy rains and flooding, transport is pushed onto the Bruce Highway or Old Gympie Road, the only other nearby river crossings causing massive congestion and delays across the South East.
“This scale of diversion creates chaos; to put it in perspective, 20,000 cars would fill the Westfield North Lakes carpark four times over,” Mayor Flannery said.
“Given the forecasted population growth of 240 new residents moving to City of Moreton Bay each week, we need certainty on delivering this infrastructure now.
“City of Moreton Bay has been neglected for too long and there’s only so much we as a Council can do.
“This was a shining example of all levels of government coming together to support the needs of the community, but it is now under threat.
“If this project doesn’t stack up in terms of contributing to a more productive, sustainable and liveable Australia then I don’t know what does.
“The money has been committed so let us get on with the job!”
Federal Opposition Leader and local MP Peter Dutton agreed it was time the government provided the funding to City of Moreton Bay.
“I’ve always backed this project because it will benefit this rapid growth area both now and in the long run.
“I commend the Mayor for once again demonstrating just how dire the situation is without this key infrastructure.
“That’s why the previous government got behind the Youngs Crossing Road project with $32.75 million in funding.
“We know that City of Moreton Bay is an experienced and proficient delivery partner which was one of the reasons we supported their advocacy and vision for this strategic project in the first place.
“Frankly the community is sick of Canberra bureaucracy getting in the way of local infrastructure delivery. People want to get to work and home in a timely manner, not be stuck in the chaos of other busy roads when this key connection gets blocked,” Mr Dutton said.
Nikki Boyd MP, State Member for Pine Rivers was pleased the State Government had contributed $15 million to the project.
“The State Government funding was the outcome of the first Moreton Bay Leaders’ Forum which was a successful initiative of the Mayor and Council and shows the impact this project will have but also the benefit of all three levels of government working together to achieve something the community really needs.
“Local commuters have been crying out for all-weather access, so I am keen to see this project commence as soon as possible,” Ms Boyd said.