Friday, February 23, 2024

Back to drawing board for Toowoomba transport corridor

Queensland’s Transport Main Roads Department will work with Toowoomba Regional Council to identify alternate future transport solutions for the region after the Queensland Government today scrapped plans for a new transport corridor.

Community consultation commenced on the proposed Toowoomba North South Transport Corridor on 10 July and closed on 13 October, with more than 4,000 responses and submissions received during that time.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey says the Department has listened to the feedback of local residents and will now work with Council to further investigate alternate solutions suggested by the community. 

“We are a government that listens to our community and we are extremely grateful to everyone that has provided us with feedback, detailed submissions or even just shared their story with us,” said Minister Bailey.

“On critical, large projects such as the North South Transport Corridor, it’s important that the community has a say – that’s why we do community consultation – so that we can change and pivot to reflect the needs of the community.

“Now that consultation has closed, TMR will work with Toowoomba Regional Council to identify alternate transport solutions that maximise the use of existing road infrastructure.

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to prepare submissions, meet with the project team and provide general feedback about the proposed transport corridor.

“Toowoomba is growing and that is a great thing for the community because it means jobs and prosperity,” he said.

The only section of the plan that will proceed to corridor protection is the small Charlton Bypass in the industrial area, which proved to be uncontroversial after some refinements to reflect land use changes and community feedback in the area, the Minister said.

“As part of the planning and consultation process, TMR has engaged with key stakeholders, Toowoomba Regional Council, elected representatives, industry, property owners along the proposed corridor, residents living just outside the corridor, first nation representatives and the greater Toowoomba community.”

“While the community feedback received shows there is positive support for an overall solution to address expected future growth, feedback has been clear that this needs to balance against concerns raised by some community members in relation to some aspects of the project.

“The Palaszczuk Government remains committed to ensuring that personal, public and commercial transport in Toowoomba is managed effectively in the long-term by ensuring that residents and businesses are supported by the right infrastructure,” said Mr Bailey.

Forecasts show Toowoomba is expected to grow by 76,000 to 200,000 people by 2046 with significant new community development projects, including new housing, approved for development. 

Toowoomba Regional Council has acknowledged the State Government’s decision.

“The sheer volume of community interest and concern regarding the alignment of the Toowoomba North-South Transport Corridor shows that a re-think of the corridor was needed and that’s the process the State says it will now undertake,” said Mayor, Geoff McDonald.

“Council agrees that there is a growing need for an additional north-south road for the Toowoomba Region and remains committed to advocating for minimal disruption to residents, protection of environment and areas of cultural significance and mitigating impacts on the local road network while achieving the best possible outcome for the region.

“With the amount of development and growth happening in and around Toowoomba, including the new hospital, there is a critical need for an alternative transport solution north-south through greater Toowoomba and it is critical the State Government invests in this much-needed planning now.

“Council also emphasises the importance of appropriate ongoing consultation with the community by DTMR to address concerns,” Mayor McDonald said.

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