19 December, 2020
OPINION: Are you really a Queenslander?
If anything has shown us the disparity between Far North Queensland and Southern Queensland it happened on December 9.
If anything has shown us the disparity between Far North Queensland and Southern Queensland it happened last Thursday, December 9. At around 2.30pm a truck rolled off the Kuranda Range and blocked traffic in both directions. With one simple mistake, people who worked on the Tablelands and lived in Cairns (or vice versa) were cut off from each other. The road was blocked in both directions for over 4 hours and was then only opened to one lane for several more hours until the truck could be cleared.
A road that has been spoken about for generations and by multiple governments still isn’t much better than when it was originally built.
The other way home from the Tablelands is actually worse. On this particular night, hundreds if not thousands of people were trying to get up or down the Gillies. Which is just another goat track that is being attacked by band-aid roadworks at every turn. On this particular night, you also had to traverse the Gillies in appalling visibility and rain.
It reminded me of capital city traffic as we crawled down the mountain bumper to bumper. The only difference is if it was in the South East Corner money would be thrown at it.
To put it in perspective the Brisbane Cross City rail project is expected to cost around $5.4 Billion dollars (wait for the blowout). There’s also the $163.3 million upgrade of the Deception Bay Road Interchange and the Brisbane Metro, has skyrocketed in cost from $944 million to $1.2 billion.
While all this money is being spent down south I noticed TMR engineers suspiciously inspecting the Barron River Bridge near Kuranda. Lately, when I cross the Barron River bridge it’s still only one lane, even if there are no TMR staff on the bridge. Any day now we are expecting TMR to announce that the bridge has been downgraded to 25 tonnes, or even worse the bridge has to be closed indefinitely due to upgrades and repairs. Either way, it will be devasting to businesses across the Tablelands.
So while Queenslanders in Brisbane enjoy their new trains, we can’t even get a regular train for commuters between Cairns and Kuranda where there is already a tourist train running.
During the recent state election, there was lots of talk from all sides of politics about a new route to Cairns, all of that talk has amounted to nothing. It seems like we are stuck with a few goat tracks a second-rate bridge and some mute local members who only spring in action when there is an election on the horizon.
Next time State of Origin is on and you yell QUUEEEEENNNNSLLANDERRRR at the television. Ask you yourself, are you really?