June 08, 2004 | Jeff Wall

The Ipswich Motorway Bypass – a $400 million political folly.

MY friend Sir James Killen occasionally reminds me of some very sound advice Sir Arthur Fadden gave him when he entered Federal Parliament – there are more Members who talk their way out of Parliament than who talk their way into it!
The Federal Liberal Members for Blair and Ryan run the real risk of having their less than promising political careers cut short for exactly this reason.
The Federal Government’s announcement yesterday that around $400 million will be spent building a bypass around the Ipswich Motorway not only represents pork barrelling at its most appalling it confirms the political ineptitude of the Members for Blair, and now Ryan.
It also confirms that politicians, on both sides, all too often ignore the lessons of history, even recent history.
The Labor opponent of the Member for Blair (Cameron Thompson) will be able to campaign in the city of Ipswich, much of which is now included in the Blair electorate, that Mr Thompson almost single-handedly blocked the widening of the Ipswich Motorway while his own proposal was “evaluated”.
That evaluation must have been conducted in record time, because the Thompson proposal is being funded as part of the roads/rail program announced yesterday – at a cost to the taxpayer/motorist of around $400 million.
If Mr Thompson believes his political hide will be saved as a result, then he should ask David Jull if Dream World could be excised out of Fadden and put into Blair!
I am not an authority on roads, but I have been listening to the open line callers complaining about not only the bottle necks on the current four lane motorway, but also the fact that it is a dangerous road to travel on. One accident – and there seems to be at least one a day – can cause motorist to be delayed for hours.
The “whiz kid” from Blair’s proposal is for a bypass to the north of the existing motorway, crossing the Brisbane River twice, and then linking up with the Logan Motorway.
That proposition presumes that many of the long suffering residents of Ipswich, and suburbs between Brisbane and Ipswich, are headed for the Gold Coast, or the Gateway Arterial.
This is nonsense, of course. Anyone doubting that should have a look at the peak hour traffic on the Centenary Highway, Ipswich Road etc all heading for where most people head for when driving towards Brisbane……Brisbane!
The bypass will take them away from Brisbane. Unless?
Unless it is linked up to the long talked about Western Bypass that will free up traffic on Milton Road, Coronation drive etc.
If that happens, then residents on acreage, and in leafy suburbs, of the seat of Ryan are about to have a major motorway/highway visited on their community.
Last week, the Member for Ryan, Michael Johnson, supported the Ipswich bypass proposal. He has now given his political opponents, and his voters, ammunition to make the infamous Western Bypass an issue in the forthcoming Federal Election.
The $400 million Ipswich Motorway bypass does not make sense UNLESS it is linked to a ring road that would get traffic into the CBD, or to the north of Brisbane, much more quickly than the Motorway can, or even could with a widening to six lanes.
The newly-elected State Liberal MP for Moggill, Dr Bruce Flegg, had the political savvy to oppose this piece of political nonsense from the outset.
He can see the inevitable – a bypass running through the western part of his electorate INEVITABLY means a western bypass or ring road. It does not make sense otherwise.
The piece of history the Members for Blair and Ryan are ignoring?
In the mid-1990’s the Goss State Government reacted to clogging up of the Gold Coast Highway by proposing a bypass or an entirely different route. The Borbidge Opposition campaigned in 1995 on a promise of upgrading the existing highway and not building the new road.
The Goss Government ended up incurring the wrath of the electorate and was ejected from office. The new Borbidge Government upgraded the existing road to a motorway that is today widely regarded as one of the best in Australia.
Substitute “Howard” for “Goss” and “Latham” for “Borbidge”.
Some politicians never learn, and as Artie Fadden would have said, some talk themselves out of Parliament!
Blair, and perhaps even Ryan, might be surprise packets on election night.

Posted by Jeff Wall at 11:17 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. I am sick and tired of hearing about this stupid idea for a western bypass. I bet the idiot who wrote this article resides in Ipswich. the western bypass may have been viable 20 years ago when it was first designed, but the area in which it runs through has seen 20 years of strong growth and development. The suburbs that will be effected by a western bypass are no longer mainly pineapple farms but communities bringing up their children in a rural peaceful environment. And this idiot wants to shove a multi-lane highway right through the middle of it. The western bypass met strong oposition 20 years ago and was put on the back burner, 20 years on the population in this area has grown by 500%, so it will meet even stronger opposition. All i can say to Mr Jeff Wall is i hope one day someone wants to shove a multi-lane freeway through your back yard and indanger your kids lives, and we’ll see how vocal he becomes on the subject. Why don’t we try and plan a viable option for the traffic chaos that is the ipswich motorway instead of digging up 20 year old plans.

    Comment by Enver bajram — July 12, 2004 @ 3:36 pm

  2. My family and I have lived in Moggil for 14 years now. We love our house, street and neighbours yet I do understand the need for a Western Ring Road, in conjunction with the TransApex Tunnel Network in Brisbane. Moving inner city traffic underground will free up streets on the ground and allow better productivity for business. Other cities such as Melbourne and Sydney have ring road systems and we have to understand that Brisbane will also have this system.
    Surely it is obvious, The Gateway and Logan Motorways are the start of an eventual network and wether I like it or not it will happen.

    Comment by Moggil Resident — July 23, 2004 @ 1:55 pm

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