Blame game over $5.85b roadworks backlog

The cost of required maintenance on Queensland's state controlled roads has climbed by more than $400m in just one year, with dozens of bridges and culverts on structure safety plans.

The estimated cost of the deferred maintenance backlog for state roads reached a massive $5.85bn as of June 30 last year - up 8 per cent from the previous financial year.

The opposition has seized on the figures to accuse the government of losing control of road maintenance.

But the government insists the total length of the network that needs programmed maintenance or rehabilitation works fell by 204km during 2019-20.

As of the end of the last financial year, there were 60 bridges and 54 major culverts with certified structure management plans to ensure their "continued safe operation".

Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Of the state's 4848 major culverts, 1,269 - or about one in four - were given a rating of "poor or very poor".

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said road material and construction costs had been rising, which in part reflected the climbing cost of the maintenance forecast.

"However, we continue to make gains on the maintenance program in real terms," he said.

"Since June 2019, we've reduced the total length of road network requiring maintenance or rehabilitation by more than 200km.

"Over the next four years, we'll spend about $1.1 billion a year maintaining the state's roads."



Mr Bailey said the State had been working closely with the Federal Government in the past 18 months, which had led to more than $5bn in joint funding to support more than 200 projects across Queensland.

"Many of those upgrades involve replacing bridges and culverts, along with upgrades to flood ways which helps to maintain our vast road network, while delivering better efficiency for the freight industry," he said.

Mr Bailey claimed that under the Newman Government, less than $700m was committed each year on resurfacing and fixing up roads - putting the state's maintenance program "back years".

LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin. Picture: Brendan Radke
LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin. Picture: Brendan Radke

LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin claimed the government had "completely lost control of road maintenance".

"While Labor's Big Black Hole (Cross River Rail) sucks up all the cash, road users across the state are left to deal with more potholes, more dodgy bridges and more dangerous roads," he said.

"The Labor Government was warned by the Auditor-General three years ago that there were serious problems with Queensland's roads."

The government says that since 2016, the total length of the state controlled road network that requires rehabilitation or resurfacing has fallen by 847km.

Originally published as Blame game over $5.85b roadworks backlog