Tugun Bypass Panels Costs Soar

28 Oct 2010 3:30 PMJann Stuckey

28 October 2010

Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey is concerned Australia’s most expensive road, the Tugun bypass is likely to become even more expensive as costs to replace smashed glass noise barriers soar. 

“This project is becoming a financial black hole for taxpayers who have to cough up for another poor decision by the Bligh Labor Government,” said Ms Stuckey.

“The Tugun bypass panel saga is quickly turning into an embarrassment, just like the ill-fated desal plant. 

“Finally, over a year since I first asked him, the Minister for Main Roads has revealed just how much it will cost to replace smashed glass panels along the bypass…..or has he?

“Eighteen smashed glass panels have already been replaced with glass at a staggering cost of $370,000 and a contract was awarded for $605,000 to replace about 70 more broken glass panels with an acrylic material.

“Now we hear the Minister saying a contract has been awarded for acrylic/polycarbonate panels which shows he has clearly misled the parliament.

“This project is becoming a dog’s breakfast at a huge cost to taxpayers.

“Industry experts say polycarbonate loses its optical and physical properties in a few years and is a poor substitute compared to acrylic for this project but the Minister is allowing this to proceed.

“Suppliers who were contracted for the acrylic panels for this project have been asked to submit a new quote for a cheaper and thinner acrylic product without a strengthening filament in it.

“These suppliers have told me that they will not be quoting on the tender for 15 mm acrylic because quite simply, they do not believe that it can do the job, and they therefore do not want to be associated with a failure as they have so many success stories that support the quality of their product.

“I am waiting for a reply from the Minister as to whether the cost he has publicly quoted includes the removal and replacement of broken glass panels.  My concerns are that more money will be thrown away. 

“Why has it taken so long to replace these panels and why are new glass panels sitting on the ground near the Tweed bypass entrance? 

“Why did the Government use glass panels in the first place?

“Why is a thinner, inferior quality material now being requested?

“This Labor Government has a well-established track record of waste and as long as they are in power it looks likely to continue. No wonder the Minister was so defensive during my parliamentary speech on Wednesday night*.

“If we are to have transparent panels along the bypass then the Minister has an obligation to make sure they are durable and value for money.

Ends

*Link to Hansard speech, starts page 104:
http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/view/legislativeAssembly/hansard/documents/2010.pdf/2010_10_27_DAILY.pdf
Media Contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919