Forum to address challenges for new city

Published 12:15pm 21 July 2023

Forum to address challenges for new city
Words by Kylie Knight

Moreton Bay Region has today officially become the City of Moreton Bay with Mayor Peter Flannery saying it is a "coming-of-age moment".

The move will transform Moreton Bay "from a regional centre to a national player".

The announcement was made at today’s Leaders’ Forum at Eatons Hill which brought representatives from all three levels of government together to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the new city.

Topics for discussion included Caboolture West, new public transport routes, roads funding, Moreton Bay Wildlife Hospital and Moreton Bay’s city reclassification.

Mayor Peter Flannery stressed the need to address traffic congestion, particularly on existing north-south arterial roads and the Bruce Highway.

“Linking our communities from east to west is critical to the future of Moreton Bay,” Mayor Flannery said.

He outlined the vision for the council’s $250 million Buchanan Rd upgrade, which will connect the state-controlled Morayfield Rd to the State/Federal Government-controlled Bruce Highway.

“It will be the only way in, and out for, Waraba’s (Caboolture West) 70,000 new residents until the Bruce Highway Western Alternative is built,” Mayor Flannery said.

He called on the Federal and State Governments to commit to funding $600,000 for business case development for Infrastructure Australia and commit to $6 million in funding of design to expedite the upgrade.

“We also need a public transport plan for Waraba,” he said.

Open-level rail crossings

Mayor Flannery said east-west connectivity in Moreton Bay was also constrained by open-level rail crossings which add to congestion and posed a ‘significant risk to road users’.

“While level crossing accidents are a small percentage of total road accidents in SEQ, they tend to be associated with more fatalities and serious injuries,” he said.

“Level crossings also mean more time for people sitting in their cars. Queues as long as 650m occur during peak times at Mackie Rd and Rowley Rd.

“By 2036, based on current projections, we will have more trains through the region. This paints a bleak picture during peak periods when boom gate down times are the worst.

“During the two-hour morning and afternoon peaks – boom gates in the south, at Todds Rd and South Pine Rd, could be down for an hour. These crossings will be closed for half of the peak period.

“In the North, it could be up to 41 minutes during peak periods we could have crossings closed.”

Mayor Flannery called on the Federal and State Governments to deliver measures to “improve safety and connectivity at our seven most problematic level crossings as a priority”.

Forum to address challenges for new city

Waraba (Caboolture West)

Mayor Peter Flannery said connecting Waraba to the rest of South East Queensland was critical to Moreton Bay City’s growth.

It will be the size of Mackay and home to 70,000 people in the next 40 years.

He called for more ‘significant works on local roads’ including Caboolture River Rd and Bellmere Rd.

“Without the Bruce Highway Western Alternative, all traffic will either use Morayfield Road or the Bruce Highway,” he said.

“Buchanan Road upgrades, including a new overpass, are critical to deliver Waraba’s early stages.

“We need the Federal and State Governments to support, and fund, transport solutions for Waraba, including public transport.”

Deputy Premier and State Member for Murrumba Steven Miles acknowledged the need to plan for the future.

“Moreton Bay is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. It’s already the third largest local government area by population and so it’s absolutely critical that all levels of government work together to ensure we’re delivering the infrastructure and services that come with that growth,” he said.

“Today, we’re announcing jointly that Moreton Bay City Council and the State Government will fund a study into the transport needs of the new population centre of Caboolture West or Waraba as it has been named. This $400,000 study will determine exactly what transport needs that population will have for decades to come.”

He said the State Government had been working closely with council to deliver the utilities needed – water and sewerage, while also identifying where schools, healthcare and sporting facilities will be.

“It’s also an area that is likely to receive funding through the Growth Area Compact. This is a $210 million commitment under the South East Queensland City Deal too ensure that we are delivering infrastructure at the time that growth occurs, ensuring these new communities have the jobs and the liveability that Queenslanders expect,” he said.

Mayor Flannery welcomed the announcement and said road and public transport infrastructure was critical and had to be delivered before people actually needed it.

“We want to get ahead of the game. Instead of being reactive, we want to be proactive and I think this is a great example of where we can get ahead and do that,” he said.

He said the study would take a number of months to complete. The timeline is unclear at this stage but he is keen to do it now, so the infrastructure can be fast-tracked.

North-South connections

Mayor Flannery said connecting the city from north to south was as important as east to west and identified the Bruce Highway Western Alternative, an additional Pine River crossing and a Moreton Bay Ferry service as possible solutions.

“We welcome the State Government’s recent announcement of a $35 million dollar study for a potential tunnel from Kedron to Carseldine,” he said.

“This should be extended to Petrie and link to the Bruce Highway Western Alternative to improve north-south connectivity.”

The 60km transport corridor would extend from Steve Irwin Way at Beerburrum to north Brisbane.

Mayor Flannery called on the Federal and State Governments to commit to delivering the Bruce Highway Western Alternative before the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He also asked both governments to provide funding to explore the Bay Cats Moreton Bay Ferry Service and to provide a second Pine River crossing.

Leaders’ luncheon

A luncheon event for business and community leaders was held following the roundtable discussion at the same venue.

Hosted by media identity Madonna King, the event presented the outcomes from the forum and was a chance for attendees to engage with elected representatives hear their visions and priorities for Moreton Bay.

Ms King facilitated a panel discussion with Deputy Premier and State Member for Murrumba Steven Miles and UniSC’s Professor Karen Becker.

The Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic delivered a keynote address.

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