Monday 15 October 2007

Warren Pitt queries cost blowout

Friends of the Earth Kuranda welcomes comments by Queensland new Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt that the proposal to build a billion dollar plus 4-Lane Highway on the Kuranda Range cannot be justified.

"The Kuranda Range Highway's six-year 'assessment process' has been a boon for local consultants, but no use at all to current road users" said Sid Walker of Friends of the Earth Kuranda.

"For too long, the safety of current road users has been simplistically linked to the new highway proposal. We welcome direct Ministerial focus on the real issue: the need for prompt and effective action on Range Road safety and convenience.

"Any new highway on the range wouldn't be ready until 2020 or later. The Minister understands that is far too long to delay on a safety issue.

"Sensible and affordable measures such as speed limits, an improved rail freight system, redirection of freight to more suitable routes and better public transport have always had our support.

"We now urge the Bligh Government to exercise fiscal prudence and scrap the Kuranda Range 4-Lane Highway project. Its price tag has inflated more than 300% since 2000. Time to call quits!

"Queenslanders expect public funds to be spent wisely, giving priority to critical funding needs such as the cash-strapped health system. Major infrastructure investments should be made only if conducive to long-term sustainability" said Mr Walker.

"Minister Pitt's comments are a breathe of fresh air in what had become a stale debate. A rational discussion about future options for this part of the Tablelands, with the new FNQ 2025 planning process plan underway, is an exciting prospect" Mr Walker added.

"This also offers hope that a looming conflict over the future of Myola - currently subject of a Mareeba Shire Council proposal for urban development of 10,000+ people - can be averted." said Sue Robertson, another FoE K spokesperson.

"Council wants the plan approved ASAP so development can begin - actually increasing traffic pressure on the Range Road over the next few years.

"FoE Kuranda believes Myola - home to at least two highly endangered species found only within its boundaries - is no place to put a city!" she concluded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel idea: How about a 50km limit on the entire Kuranda range road -Smithfield to Kuranda (wouldn't even add 5 minutes to the entire journey). To ensure compliance, include (a) half a dozen cameras strategically placed along the road, and (b) a permanent traffic patrol dedicated to the road. In the short term, revenue (from fines) would more than offset the cost, whilst in the long term, savings in lost lives, injuries and insurance claims would more than compensate. Can’t spare the 5 minutes? Don’t use the road!