House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Grievance Debate

Forde Electorate: Infrastructure

5:03 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I know the area that the member for Blair was referring to and I can relate to some of those issues in my electorate. I am pleased to say—probably much to the member for Blair's frustration—that TMR is doing some upgrades on interchanges in my patch. They're substantially better than what he's been alluding to, so maybe he can have a look at some of the designs in my part of the world. But I can relate to his concerns in that space.

It's interesting because that's the topic of my contribution tonight. I recently convened a community forum in Beenleigh as I wanted to hear from members of the community in Beenleigh about issues that matter to them. We had a very constructive Q&A session that lasted a couple of hours. At that time, around 130 constituents told us about the things that matter to them. Of the issues they raised, nearly half were about roads and the concerns they have with traffic problems. At the outset, I want to thank the state member for Macalister, the local councillor for Division 12, Karen Murphy, the deputy mayor, Jon Raven, and officers from Queensland Police, who were also at that forum, for their positive and constructive contribution to that evening.

One of the concerns was shared by Janet who lives at a retirement village in my electorate and who can't get out of her driveway each day because there is so much traffic backed up on Martens Street. The impact this has on Janet and others like her is much more than a vague irritation. It causes much stress and anxiety.

The New York Times has reported on the toll that this stress and anxiety can bring to us, stemming from this sense of helplessness when we experience traffic and its unpredictability. One study found that, to save a minute of time spent in traffic, people would trade away five minutes of other leisure activity. This survey shows that we hate sitting in traffic so much that we'd rather trade five minutes of leisure time just to spend one less minute sitting in traffic.

In Brisbane, according to the McCrindle research, the average commuter spends 67 minutes sitting in traffic every day. This works out at 5½ hours per week, with average peak speeds of around 43 kilometres an hour, lower than the speed limit in non-peak-hour times. Smart cities specialist Daniel Antonello said:

Traffic congestion impacts people's happiness, where they choose to live, how productive we are as a society and the success of our economy.—

much of what the member for Blair was just speaking about as well.

That's why I'm so pleased to share with the House that this government, the Morrison government, is delivering on road upgrades and improvements across the electorate of Forde. In May last year, the government announced a new $500 million Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. This program supports local councils to deliver priority road and community infrastructure projects across Australia. It supports jobs and local economies and helps communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. It's also making it easier for people like Janet to go about their daily activities with less stress and fewer dangerous road intersections. This program attracted strong community and local government support, and, through the 2020-21 budget, the government announced a $1 billion extension to it.

We also have the government's Infrastructure Investment Program, with a record $110 billion over 10 years, from 2021-31. This important program supports land transport projects, which will strengthen the national economy, bust congestion out of cities and make regional roads safer and more efficient. When completed, these projects will significantly improve the efficiency and safety of the land transport network across the country.

I'm pleased to say that my electorate of Forde is benefiting from some of these projects. A couple of weeks ago, we visited some of these locations that have benefited from this funding. At Noya Park at Windaroo, there is a section there on the side of the road that is used as a car park and that was particularly dangerous, given the drop-offs from the main road to this dirt car park. This has been reconstructed and sealed, so it's now safe for people to park, use the park facilities and access Windaroo Cottage across the road. It'll make it a much better space and a much friendlier space for our local community to use.

There will also be signalisation and traffic safety improvements at the Albert Street, Station Road and Logan River Road off-ramp in Bethania. Anybody that lives in this area knows how dangerous this intersection is. When I visited there, there were obvious signs of damage to fences at various points around the intersection, where cars and trucks appear to have had accidents. The project at this location involves installation of traffic signals, pedestrian crossings and on-road cycle lanes at the intersection to improve the safety and capacity of road users.

I also recently visited the M1 Pacific Motorway upgrades at Exit 41 and 49. The Morrison government has committed $96.3 million to this project, and I'm pleased to note that the Gold Coast city council is also contributing to adjacent projects to these. These two important intersections, together with Exit 45, which we're also putting $10 million into, serve the growing area of the northern Gold Coast. One side of the highway is mine; the other side of the highway is our colleague the member for Fadden's, and I know that he, equally, is very supportive of these projects. What these projects will do will massively upgrade these interchanges from a single-lane bridge to two dual-lane bridges, get rid of roundabouts that clog up traffic, put traffic signals in and vastly extend the off-ramp so that the issue of traffic in the morning peak hour tailing back onto the M1 and into a 100-kilometre-per-hour zone are removed.

The community is very appreciative of these upgrades. I would say that it's good to see work at exit 41 progressing, but I'm sad to say that work on exit 49 is yet to commence. I call on the state Palaszczuk government to get on with the work on exit 49 as well. We've got the money. There is no reason why that work shouldn't have commenced and be underway today.

The government has also committed $15 million to the Coomera Park'n'Ride. This project will increase the capacity of the park'n'ride facilities at Coomera train station and improve accessibility and the incentive for people to catch the train into Brisbane or down to the Gold Coast rather than driving.

I'm also very pleased to share with the House some of the other road projects this government is delivering for Forde, which include the following: $8 million for the upgrade of Tamborine Oxenford Rd at Howard Creek, a very dangerous little creek crossing because it is a large dip and a very busy road. This will significantly lift the height of the road, reduce flooding and significantly improve safety. Some $60 million in safety improvements to the Mount Lindesay Highway at North McLean have been delivered and have made an enormous difference with the installation of traffic lights at Greenbank Road and the construction of a dedicated service road. There is $75 million in conjunction with the Queensland government for upgrades to the Mount Lindesay Highway between Stoney Camp Road and Chambers Flat Road. This will deliver safety improvements, duplication and the construction of a new northbound bridge over Norris Creek.

There is also $15.6 million for Beenleigh Redland Bay Road between California Creek Road and Serpentine Creek which will provide targeted safety road improvements, including wider centre lines, audio tactile line marking, shoulder widening and removing of roadside hazards and safety barriers as appropriate in conjunction with a state government project of installation of traffic lights near a number of our schools. There is a $14.4 million project to improve the Beaudesert Beenleigh Road between Beaudesert and Wollfdene in addition to our $5 million project to upgrade Beaudesert Beenleigh Road between Milne Street and Tallagandra Road.

These road projects are very important to the lives of the people in the electorate of Forde. When I came to this place I made a commitment to the people of Forde that we would focus on fixing roads and building infrastructure and creating economic opportunity. I'm pleased to say that these projects are focused on exactly that. We don't want people spending time in their cars sitting in traffic. We don't want them experiencing the stress of trying to get out of their driveways and turning into dangerous intersections. I'm very pleased that these are another range of examples of the Morrison government delivering for my community in Forde.