Power to the People, But at What Cost?

22 Jul 2011 9:58 AMJann Stuckey

22 July 2011

Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey welcomes this week’s decision to suspend the Mudgeeraba to Tugun powerline upgrade but questions why the State Government put residents under pressure for so long.

Ms Stuckey said the final ENERGEX Community Reference Group (CRG) meeting last night brought mixed feelings as the group had been on a rollercoaster since its historic formation over three years ago.

“The announcement by the Minister on Wednesday to suspend and review the network upgrade has come as a shock to the community,” Ms Stuckey said. 

“While this decision will no doubt be pleasing for residents who have fought hard to oppose this project, it may well rear its head again in the future.

“An election promise was made by the Bligh Government during the 2009 election campaign to place powerlines underground through Palm Beach.

“This week we were advised that there are technical constraints for the line to be constructed underground through the Palm Beach section of the M1.

“It beggars belief that only now, in 2011, do we hear from the Minister that the 2009 election promise cannot be fulfilled.

“How many millions of dollars and countless hours of surveying and planning have now been wasted? Not to mention the very real anxiety and heartache this whole process has caused our community.  

“Palm Beach residents were dealt unnecessary stress, some even coerced to sell their homes to avoid resumptions along the proposed route.

“I call on the Minister to apologise to all of the people he and his Government have caused so much anguish and worry since the beginning of this process. 

“This Labor Government and the member for Burleigh Christine Smith should be utterly ashamed of the way they have treated southern Gold Coast residents.

“It was my office that constituents from the Burleigh electorate came to over three years ago demanding that someone listen to them, because their own member of parliament refused to help. 

“We have copped a double whammy in our electorate with a desal plant we didn’t want, and now no longer need.

“This decision indicates we won’t be needing water from the desal plant for several years – yet a billion dollar bill remains.

“Regardless of the decision to suspend the network upgrade for now, residents will still end up paying up to 20 percent more for their electricity which is totally unacceptable.
“Any future plans must consider safe and amenable routes for the powerlines and continue to ensure our residents have their concerns heard.

“A Campbell Newman-led LNP Government will work for all Queenslanders, not for ourselves.