Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor and Finance Portfolio Councillor Tim Dwyer says State election candidates should not be making promises which are contingent on council funding or implying they have been made in conjunction with council.
Cr Dwyer said a number of election promises had been made over the past week, without any consultation with council.
LNP Buderim Candidate Brent Mickelberg has pledged $2 million for a new library and community centre for Sippy Downs and LNP Glass House candidate Andrew Powell has pledged $1 million for a new indoor aquatic facility at Maleny.
“Both projects would have a significant impact on Sunshine Coast Council’s budget and the amounts pledged would go nowhere near the funds required, not only to build the infrastructure but for the ongoing staffing and maintenance,” Cr Dwyer said.
“Neither project is in our short term plans as, after much investigation, population planning and number crunching, council has identified much higher priorities which have to be delivered to manage growth and benefit the greatest number of residents and ratepayers.
“We then have LNP Candidate Jarrod Bleijie promising $5 million to four-lane Parklands Blvd – which is congested because of lack of on-school parking at Meridan State College.
“While we thank Mr Bleijie for his announcement to contribute towards the project at a time unspecified, I remind him that Meridan State College is a State Government school, established in 2006, well after the surrounding area was allocated for residential development.
“With about 2600 students, it contributes significantly to congestion on Parklands Boulevard and has grown approximately 25% in recent years.
“The State Government provided inadequate parking and drop off areas within the school grounds when first established and during expansions in 2008 and 2010 culminating in the traffic backlogs on the surrounding road network.
“This happens at numerous State Schools across the Sunshine Coast. The State Government avoids its responsibilities during planning and transfers constructed parking areas to council – another example of cost shifting.
“Traffic at Buderim State School is congested during peak times. It is located on a State road. But do we see Mr Bleijie initiating petitions to have that road four-laned? No.”
“If Sunshine Coast ratepayers have to foot the bill to upgrade Parklands Blvd to four-lanes early, that will be at the expense of other council-led projects. And that is unfair.
“Mr Bleijie’s media release quotes Mr Nicholls: “Only a vote for Jarrod Bleijie will see this congestion busting project become reality.”
“Mr Bleijie - you had the opportunity to lobby for funding when you were a Minister in the Newman Government from 2012 to 2015 and to increase on-site parking and drop off areas within the school grounds, so why did this congestion busting project not become a reality during those years?
“You talk about the development in the area contributing to traffic congestion, but ignore the corresponding increase in revenue the State Government receives from the stamp duty received on the sale of land and vehicle registrations and profits from electricity payments by residents in that area.”
Cr Dwyer said that going forward, as Baringa State School in Aura developed, the catchment and student numbers at Meridan State College would reduce, assisting in reducing traffic volumes on Parklands Boulevard particularly during peak school travel periods.
“Council has made it very clear what our priorities are and we have called on the State election candidates and their parties to outline their commitments to ensure Sunshine Coast Council receives a fairer share of the funding in the future and that rail and transport infrastructure top the list.
“Candidates from all parties needed to detail how they would fund their pre-election commitments and, most importantly, when they would be delivered.
“We have seen funding commitments contingent on Federal Government funding such as the North Coast Rail Line Duplication and the Mooloolah River Interchange and absolutely no timeline on delivery,” Cr Dwyer said.
“While we appreciate the sentiment, our residents deserve a strong commitment so it is in the bag once they are elected. Otherwise it’s just an empty promise.”