One of many dangerous sections on the Bruce Highway.
One of many dangerous sections on the Bruce Highway. Alistair Brightman

No money to fix the broken bike

WHEN I was a youngster, my father handed me down his bike.

The road bike was a little rusty, but it did the trick until I was 16, when it all but fell apart.

The man at the bike shop told me it was going to cost most of my pocket money (and a loan from my parents) to fix it. I used the bike to ride to and from school and to my part-time job, so it was essential that I got it fixed.

When I told my dad what had happened, he wasn't impressed; when he gave me his bike he told me I would have to look after it.

But I didn’t - it was left out in the rain, it wasn't oiled regularly and it wasn't serviced when it should've been. As a result I had to pay for my neglect.

Sadly, my story is nothing new.

We have seen it play out again recently with the release of the State Budget 2011-2012 - the state government (me as a teenager) and Queensland's roads (my bike).

Sure, the government will spend $3.35 billion in the next financial year on our roads, including $883 million for repairs to those damaged by natural disasters.

The $3.35 billion virtually matches last year’s roads allocation. However, it is actually costing the state government considerably less because the Federal Government is coughing up almost 75 percent of the disaster recovery money.

In reality, roads funding is going backwards, with nothing in the budget to flood-proof our key highways, nor for any major new projects.

Just for the record I spent my hard earned savings and had the bike repaired.

A decade on, the bike is still in working order.

Let's just hope we can say the same for the Bruce and Warrego Highways, which are consistently branded Queensland’s worst by motorists, in the years to come.

 


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