20 August, 2022

Council disappointed with funding

SOMERSET Regional Council is “bitterly disappointed” with a funding shortfall for upgrades to the notorious Brisbane Valley Highway despite previous funding announcements made as part of the South East Queensland City Deal partnership.

Council disappointed with funding - feature photo

The SEQ City Deal is a 20-year partnership between the Australian Government, Queensland Government and 11 Councils which make up the Council of Mayors (SEQ) which provides a shared commitment to transform SEQ and deliver region-shaping infrastructure.

In March it was announced that the Brisbane Valley Highway would receive a $40.5 million safety upgrade under the billion-dollar South East Queensland City Deal.

Somerset Regional Council Mayor, Graeme Lehmann (pictured), said throughout the development of the SEQ City Deal, Council understood the $40.5M would be new investment.

“Council believed this funding would build upon approximately $17.6M of historic funding previously announced by the State Government (including the $14.5M for safety upgrades between Fernvale and Blacksoil),” Cr Lehmann said.

“After years of campaigning for more funding and repairs to this notorious highway, Council was elated at the outcome of the City Deal and what these upgrades would mean for our residents and visitors to the region.

“The funding was to complete targeted safety upgrades along 89.52 km of the state highway while supporting the major freight corridor between Somerset and greater South East Queensland region.

“In July, the Department of Transport and Main Roads revealed the contribution to the ‘Brisbane Valley Highway Safety Upgrades’ initiative in the SEQ City Deal by the State Government would include historic funding previously announced. This is beyond disappointing.

“Of the $40.5M, State funding would include $14.5M for 14km of safety upgrades between Fernvale and Blacksoil which is currently in detailed design phase along with $2.33M of new State funding.

“The community deserves better. We simply cannot afford to have upgrades to this dangerous highway put on the backburner.

“There have been two fatalities on the Brisbane Valley Highway this year alone and it is well documented by peak motoring body, RACQ, that this highway does not meet community safety expectations.”

A Star Rating and Crash Risk AusRAP Assessment report previously completed by RACQ examined the risk of death and serious injury on the Brisbane Valley Highway, showing 64 per cent of the state highway was a two-star road.

Ratings were based on road inspection data, providing an objective measure of the level of safety which was ‘built-in’ to the road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

“How many lives need to be lost before this highway is fixed? It’s beyond belief that a major highway in South East Queensland can be left in such poor condition without any real commitment to have it fixed properly,” Cr Lehmann said.

Council, at its ordinary meeting on August 10, unanimously agreed to continue lobbying the State Government to have more funds allocated to the Brisbane Valley Highway.

“Council will not stop until additional funding is injected into this highway to bring it up to a safe standard,” Cr Lehmann said.


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