Member for Buderim Brent Mickelberg has spoken out about his overall disappointment in the 2018 State Budget, claiming the Labor Government has not given the Sunshine Coast the respect it deserves as one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions.
“While I was pleased to see that long overdue funding has been allocated to three overcrowded schools on the Sunshine Coast; Chancellor State College, Mountain Creek State High School and Brightwater State School, this funding will simply meet current demand. Similarly funding to build new classrooms at Brightwater State School is also welcome, but this is simply the Government placing a band-aid over the significant growth in student number on the Coast.
“It is abundantly clear that without a new primary and secondary school to cater for anticipated student numbers at the Master Planned Palmview development, students will be crammed into existing local schools that are already oversubscribed. Concerningly there has been no allocation of funds in this budget to build a school at Palmview, despite some 16,000 residents expected to move into the area in the short to medium term.
“With regards to road infrastructure, Labor have carelessly ignored the urgent need to inject the necessary funds to increase capacity, improve safety and reduce flooding on the carpark that is meant to the Bruce Highway.
“There is no relief in sight for the thousands of locals who must commute to Brisbane for work and less and less incentive for tourists travelling North to the Sunshine Coast who sit in traffic instead of sitting in a park or at the beach. There is real concern that without a six lane Bruce Highway the Sunshine Coast is at great risk of becoming isolated from other parts of South East Queensland.
“With regard to the Beerburrum to Nambour rail duplication, only half of the necessary funds have been allocated, which is a tokenistic step at best. If Labor were genuinely committed to getting cars off the Bruce Highway and on to public transport, they would have taken the offer on the table from the Federal Government and stumped up the full amount required to get this project completed.
“Sadly we are still talking about and not fixing the out-dated, dangerous and convoluted Mooloolah River Interchange, which is the critical link to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the Birtinya health hub, and the new Maroochydore City Centre. In its current form this interchange is an accident waiting to happen and as long as the project remains in abeyance the regional economy will be stuck in traffic along with emergency vehicles.
“I am extremely frustrated with the Government’s reluctance to accept responsibility for grid- locking two major roads in my electorate, namely Scholars Drive as a result of the construction of Chancellor State College and Burnett Street, which is home to the Buderim Mountain State School.
“Scholars Drive is choked morning and afternoon and is severely impacting the Sippy Downs community. When I questioned the Premier about what the government plans to do about it she passed the buck to the Sunshine Coast Council. If an LNP Government committed to invest $1 million to work with Council to find a solution, why can’t Labor?
“The long-standing traffic congestion in Buderim’s CBD must be addressed and could be alleviated with a drop off and pick up zone for school families.
“I have appealed to both the Minister for Education and the Minister for Transport and Main Roads to work together to address the traffic congestion around both schools and will continue to lobby them until sense prevails and the buck-passing stops.
“The Sugar-Mooloolaba Road intersection is a daily nightmare for locals and while the Government continue to skirt around what might be the solution to upgrading the Buderim-Mooloolaba Interchange, the planning results for which were due last year, there is still no money to actually fund the much-needed fix. The central location of this clumsy and congested interchange in the densely populated area of one of the Sunshine Coast’s busiest business districts is negatively affecting businesses and driving down the local economy.
“On other matters close to my heart, the Government has not seen fit to match the LNP’s commitment of $1 million to support the ground-breaking work of the Thompson Institute, nor $600,000 to support the Buderim Men’s Shed. Investment in Mental Health must be above politics and must be a priority.
“For the most part this is a budget of new taxes, new fees and recycled commitments; which includes the $7 million previously announced to upgrade the stadium at the University of the Sunshine Coast, which includes the upgrade of the Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Quarters.
“I will continue to fight the good fight for the Buderim Electorate and will at every opportunity put political interests aside to work with the Government to deliver the investment that is required to support the growing needs of my community and the Sunshine Coast more broadly, Mr Mickelberg said.