“Thank you, Chair. I rise to speak on Item B and welcome the procurement of a contractor for the construction of the Beams Road Upgrade from Lacey Road to Handford Road and calls for tenders for Stage 1. With the increased growth in this area it is important that this is a priority project. With the 19,000 vehicles currently using this corridor and heavy vehicles making up five per cent this traffic movement. This is predicted to increase to 26,000 vehicles per day by 2031. So the Beams Road Upgrade will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and improve pedestrian and cycling accessibility.

With the new EDQ major redevelopment project underway as part of the Carseldine Urban Village project and the new Holy Spirit College, that actually opened its doors last week, The Schrinner Council is committed to delivering better active travel and improved pedestrian and cycling facilities and accessibility.

This project, as we’ve heard, is funded by the Morrison Government under the Urban Congestion Fund. I thank the member for Petrie, Luke Howarth for this work in lobbying for the $50 million committed towards this upgrade. Chair, can I say what great work our Council officers have already done on this project. In less than a year we have had planning and community consultation. The pandemic and lockdowns have not held us back and I want to thank and acknowledge our fantastic team for their commitment, dedication and passion. So in less than a year we are already calling for tenders for Stage 1 and getting on with improving this corridor.

As has already been said, that within the footprint of Stage 1, which you can see on the preliminary design, there is one big, blank section.

That is the Beams Road rail level crossing where we are lacking information. So despite the Schrinner Council already supporting the removal of this open level crossing with funds that were actually allocated in the 2019 Budget to support it and funding committed by the Federal Government, the State Government, who is responsible for the building of the infrastructure, has not commenced the build.

Can I point out, Chair, it is really disappointing that the Councillor for Deagon Ward has previously claimed that these important designs for safety and inclusion of the overpass are only minor. Alarm bells should go off right there and we should all be thankful that he is not in charge of all the infrastructure upgrades being delivered around Brisbane. It is disappointing that the Councillor for Deagon has blindly followed the Member for Aspley who is misleading him and the public with fake campaigns.

The Schrinner Council has been ready to support the removal of this open level crossing for years. That funding was allocated in the 2019 Budget. The Federal Government then joined in with their commitment. But the State Government still felt the need to do community consultation, waste money on asking residents what should be done, when they just wanted it to be done and form a business case. It wasn’t until the LNP candidate for Aspley committed to this project that the Labor Member for Aspley finally came kicking and screaming to the party.

We are still waiting for Strathpine Road and Linkfield Road to be delivered. We’re still waiting for Linkfield Road three years on, to be delivered. He has a track record of promising and not delivering.

Despite the good working relationship the Schrinner Council has with TMR and the Minister for Transport, where the normal process of project delivery is being followed and due diligence is being met. Out of the blue came these bizarre claims. Council was the first level of Government to commit to fixing this problem and we are getting on with the job of making our roads safer and busting congestion. With the main construction of Beams Road starting in 2022 we can only hope that the State Government’s promise to remove the open level crossing on this corridor will actually begin.

The removal of this crossing will dramatically improve road safety and significantly reduce traffic congestion. Chair, we have certainly seen in the last week just how vital the Beams Road Arterial is in my community and to broader Brisbane with the forced closure of the Linkfield Road overpass, due to damage caused by a vehicle passing under it on the Gympie Arterial. Unfortunately as you know, Chair, that despite the Federal funds for the building of a new Linkfield Road overpass being available for three years now, the State Government, as the builder, has not even planned this crucial infrastructure yet.

As a result of the burden of carrying this traffic now, it has been thrown on to the other arterial roads of Beams Road, Bracken Ridge Road, Hoyland Street and Strathpine Road. Residents have reported it taking up to an hour to take their children to school. Or to pick up milk and bread.

In fact, some children were late to school on what was for them their very first day of schooling and for parents who were going back to work that day being late as well. Accidents do happen and it was unfortunate that this happened to the bridge. We accept that it’s not the State Government’s fault that it had to be closed. But sadly it was due to their misinformation or lack of communication, poor signage, that led to Monday’s chaos. It was exacerbated by that State Government not informing the public, so that they could prepare their journey on the first day of school.

Beams Road having an open level train crossing has only complicated this debacle.

My community that is already suffering with congestion and safety concerns in this area is now faced with triple the time to commute. The Schrinner Council, however, is getting on with the building of better roads for Brisbane. Less than a year on, the Beams Road Upgrade is powering on to deliver for the people of my Ward, and for the Councillor for Deagon’s Ward. I’m excited and supportive of this motion today to begin the tender process and see works begin very soon.”

15 February 2022