State told to "get cracking” on Ipswich Motorway upgrade
THE STATE Government has been told to "get cracking" by Shadow Treasurer Scott Emerson and start upgrading the Darra to Rocklea section of the Ipswich Motorway.
But Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey has responded and said Mr Emerson was out of touch and that "early works have been under way since late last year".
Infrastructure Australia will release its top 100 infrastructure priorities today and the Ipswich Motorway is in the top seven listed as "high priority".
The State Government put $200 million on the table for stage one and that was matched with $200 million by the Federal Government.
"My concern is that once again we have a project that has stalled," Mr Emerson told the QT.
"The 85,000 motorists who use the Ipswich Motorway each day want to see the work begin.
"But all of you have seen on this, like so many projects around Queensland under this government, is that nothing is happening,
"This should be under way but under this government it is always 'going to happen'.
"The money is there. The government needs to get cracking."
But Mr Bailey said that "Scott Emerson and the LNP did nothing for the Ipswich Motorway for three years under Tim Nicholls as Treasurer".
"It is Labor who has delivered the overdue upgrade funding Ipswich motorists have needed for years," he said.
"Early works have been under way since late last year and the $400 million Ipswich Motorway upgrade from Rocklea to Darra is on track with the tender for design and construct for the project to be awarded within months.
"It was Mr Emerson and the LNP government who slashed roads funding across Queensland by $600 million when he was Transport Minister.
"The Newman-Nicholls government also wasted more than $30 million preparing for privatisation and outsourcing instead of building roads."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has referred to the motorway as "a goat track" in the past and said the upgrade had "taken too long".
"This has been on the drawing board for 12 years," he said.
"The Ipswich Motorway has always been used as a political football, but I want to start seeing the thing happen.
"This has to be a priority. Maybe it is a lack of staff at the Department of Main Roads why this has taken so long.
"But the longer they leave it the more expensive it gets. We need that connection to be good because it impacts all of south-east Queensland."