Flawed Plans commit taxpayers to a $55B bill

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information show that the Queensland Government’s much announced South East Queensland Regional Plan 2005 - 2026 (SEQ RP) and South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program 2005 - 2026 (SEQ IPP) is seriously flawed.

On 27 April 2005 Beattie and “The Fox” made much ado about the SEQ I PP. Announcing it as the most ambitious plan since Federation with $35.5B earmarked for transport infrastructure projects.

Queensland Transport documents reveal that before the release of the SEQ IPP, contrary to standard transport planning practice, there was no analysis made of what impact such a mix of roads, public transport and tunnels would have on traffic congestion and travel times.

If people think that gridlock is bad now have no fear it is going to get a lot worse.  Coloured maps showing 2026 congestion levels paint a grim picture.

Despite Professor Luis Ferreira recommending that there be an economic analysis of the transport options developed, The Rivermouth Action Group Inc has been unable to find any evidence of this having been done. Seems a fairly fundamental step to take before committing taxpayer’s money.

Queensland Transport documents show that ‘policy options’ that have minimal cost are more effective at reducing congestion. This has already been proven by the Travelsmart Grange pilot project but the State Government still refuses to roll a program out across the whole of SEQ. Is this because building roads, digging tunnels and commissioning more buses makes for better photo opportunities?

Statements were made that the North South Bypass Tunnel and Airport Link were also to be assessed before the release of the Infrastructure Plan. It would be interesting to know whether this was done or not. Or has the State Government made a song and dance act about committing to Memorandums of Understanding and contributing $16m to the Airport Link without even this fundamental step?

So much for good governance delivering good community outcomes and protecting the livability features of SEQ which we all value.

The Office of Urban Management knowingly finalised the SEQ IPP without a rigorous assessment of transport options. If this has happened for transport – has the same occurred for the other infrastructure programs?

It is also interesting to note that Queensland Transport and Main Roads continue to compete with each other. Both undertook transport modelling programs at the same time. Who is the real transport planner? The Rivermouth Action Group Inc has yet to find out however what roads and links are included in the Main Roads' Strategic Road Network Review. Would the Hamilton Road extension by any chance be listed?

The Beattie Government is prepared to commit $35.5B to an untested infrastructure program but unwilling to construct a railway to Redcliffe that has been promised for 100 years in three year cycles.

So much for Beattie's trumpeting at the SEQ IPP announcement in his 27 February 2005 media release…………."Using the best available population growth data, we have set out to insure future generations against road gridlock, parching water shortages, public transport stress and overstretched electricity networks.”

Serious questions remain

1. It is assumed that by now the projects listed in the SEQ IPP have been modelled using the approach recommended by peer reviewer Professor Luis Ferreira of QUT. Well what does it say?

2. What roads are included in the Main Roads' Strategic Road Network Review? That Department has a habit of continually getting road improvement plans out from the bottom drawer and incrementally constructing improvement – an intersection here a slip road there and before you know it …. Abracadabra while you are waiting for the white rabbit to be pulled out of the hat a new arterial road is running right through your back yard…. The community has a right to know what Main Roads is planning.

3. And more to the point who is the Government’s transport planner? Seems like it is the boys who build the roads.

4. Professor Luis Ferreira recommended that fuel price increase and road pricing be modelled as one of the options What are the results? Would seem logical to know now … just 6 months on fuel prices have already risen over 30 cents. Is there research somewhere that indicates for every 10 cent increase in petrol price people will reduce the amount they drive their car?

5. Professor Luis Ferreira recommended that there be an economic analysis of the different transport options. Was this ever done and if not why not?

Over to you Peter…… come clean before you continue to pour our hard earned money down the drain ….. don’t let this become another smoke and mirrors trick like you did with the Health Department….

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