13 February, 2024
Showing them the highway
A petition with nearly 11,000 signatures opposing the proposed Stage 4 of the Bruce Highway Western Alternative has been tabled in Parliament.
Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell, tabled the petition on Tuesday, following months of grassroots activity raising concerns about the impact of the proposed routes.
Residents of Caboolture, Elimbah, and Moodlu were at risk of housing resumptions, with many incensed at what they saw as a lack of legitimate consultation with the community by Transport and Main Roads. Over 500 submissions were also received by Transport.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday evening, Mr Powell said: “I stand before you on behalf of the resilient and tight-knit communities of Moodlu, Caboolture East, and Elimbah, whose voices are raised, not in opposition to progress, but in defence of their homes, their farms, our environment, and our heritage.”
The much-anticipated tabling of the petition was the culmination of almost three months of community efforts to communicate and bring awareness to the impacts the road proposal would have on locals and residents.
Mr Powell said: “This is not how you treat people.”
“The recent consultation process has left the communities I have the honour of representing, and neighbouring communities, feeling marginalised and distrustful,” he said.
“Residents have been informed that engagement is a mere formality, with little room for genuine collaboration or transparency. This lack of respect for community input undermines the democratic process and erodes trust in government institutions.”
Aside from the loss of over 140 homes and farms, and the feeling of disrespect, another issue raised by Mr Powell also spoke of the “human cost”, quoting residents as saying: “The land in question is not merely geography; it is the source of our collective history, the legacy of generations past.
To pave over this heritage with asphalt is to erase a part of ourselves—a part that cannot be replaced or rebuilt.”
"Residents have been informed that engagement is a mere formality, with little room for genuine collaboration" - Andrew Powell
“We stand ready to work collaboratively with government officials to find solutions that balance progress with preservation,” Mr Powell said.
“Our submissions offer constructive suggestions for alternatives that minimise impact and safeguard our community’s future.”
The current Bruce Highway Western Alternative plan is being fought by Elimbah, Moodlu, and Caboolture residents, as it would see many residential homes demolished to make room for the new highway.
The proposed route would extend the Bruce Highway through Moodlu before being split into two branches leading east and west of Beerburrum Road, through Elimbah.
The Highway would then connect to Steve Irwin Way, south of Beerburrum. Asked previously about criticism of its processes, a TMR spokesperson said no decision had been made on a preferred alignment for Stage 4.
“TMR is committed to ongoing engagement with the community. We are investigating additional ways TMR can work with the community as planning continues,” the spokesperson said.
“All feedback will be carefully considered before advancing further technical investigations to determine a preferred corridor alignment, including consideration of alternate corridor alignments."