Premier backs $35m intervention to speed-up road upgrade
A $35 million State Government spend on a road upgrade a developer was required to fund has been justified by the premier as being "absolutely vital".
Construction has started on the $70 million extension to Bells Creek Arterial Rd at Caloundra South, just three weeks after the government agreed to fund half of the project.
Stockland was originally expected to fund the road upgrade under a $1.3 billion infrastructure agreement for its Aura development with the state, federal and local governments.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk justified the government funding as a way to fast-track the upgrade.
The Liberal National Party in August made the same commitment to fund half of the road upgrade with Stockland.
It's understood Stockland would not have been required to build the road until 2030.
"There are so many people living here at the moment and there will be even more into the future," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"(This upgrade) is absolutely needed.
"That's why we put $35 million on the table to get it under way … it is vital road infrastructure that is needed now, it cannot wait."
Labor candidate for Caloundra Jason Hunt said the upgrade would provide a critical new southern connection into Caloundra from the Bruce Highway at Roys Rd and reduce traffic on the highway near Caloundra Rd.
Caloundra Greens candidate Raelene Ellis described the funding as "social welfare for the rich" during Tuesday's Sunshine Coast Daily candidate forum.
She said it was a "handout" to Stockland for a road project they were already required to do.
Construction is expected to take two years and has created 850 jobs.
The new link will also reduce travel time between Kawana and Beerburrum by about 13 minutes.