Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Your Say: motorway ‘death trap’ and why workers flee

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Your Say: motorway ‘death trap’ and why workers flee


Your Say: motorway 'death trap', why workers flee and the battle to safeguard harbour

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I’m writing to you in regard to the story about the urgent need to upgrade the Sunshine  Motorway following yet another terrible and tragic accident.

With ever-increasing traffic on the stretch between Coolum and the airport, combined with a speed limit of 100km/h, it quite literally is a death trap.

I realise and welcome that there are plans to upgrade the road in the lead-up to the 2032 Olympics, but as the slogan says, our community just can’t wait that long for a solution. More lives will be lost or forever altered.

The campaign, being led by MP Dan Purdie is much needed, but seems to be mostly focussing on traffic congestion and the two roundabouts leading into Coolum.

The bigger problem is the increasing potential for high-speed, head-on accidents occurring on the motorway itself.

There are several short-term and cost-effective solutions that will make the Sunshine Coast Motorway safer, including the following:

• Install a central crash barrier that would eliminate head-on accidents (this would certainly be my first preference)

• Drop the speed limit to 80km/h

• Install a point-to-point speed camera system


Help stop the carnage

Another day, another accident on the Sunshine Motorway Bli Bli to Coolum section.

How many more people have to be seriously injured before it is expanded?

The stretch becomes completely blocked when there is an accident.

And all it takes is someone doing 70km/h on it and it is slow for hours.

Please fast-track the duplication and get rid of the Coolum roundabout.


Roundabout danger increasing

Driving from Yandina to Coolum via the roundabout is extremely nerve-wracking.

Cars are lined up at the roundabout because of the heavy traffic entering right from the motorway and from the motorway left to Coolum.

I dread going to Coolum because each time I see an accident waiting to happen.

I feel that lights would be helpful to keep the traffic moving smoothly and at a safe speed.

The roundabout has become heavier and more dangerous in the past two years. Its original design cannot keep up with the increased population using it.

I would like to see changes urgently implemented.


Long wait for any action

This article is correct. We have been waiting so long for help with this road and many locals are avoiding the roundabout altogether and using David Low Way.

It appears that a flyover, taking traffic direct from north of the roundabout to the south without passing through it would be part of the solution.

Please State Government, supply a plan the locals can comment on to help us avoid more deaths and accidents in this area.


No wonder hospitality workers are fleeing

I wish to add my thoughts regarding the Sunshine Coast News article featuring Bernard Salt, who raised concerns about an exodus of workers despite a surge in our population.

Mr Salt revealed this mainly affected hospitality workers who were leaving in droves, possibly due to a lack of affordable housing.

I’m a Sunshine Coast resident of 29 years and would like to point out that in the real world out there on the Coast, the following is how it rolls in hospitality, and has been allowed to roll for many years.

Many employees are casuals and don’t have holiday/sick day allowances or job security.

Hospitality workers are often given two to four-hour shifts over seven days, which effectively provides, at most, approximately 30 hours per week.

Hospitality workers are under increasing pressure. Picture: Shutterstock

If this person has children and a working partner, then throw childcare costs and juggling pick-up and drop-off times into the mix. Very stressful.

A number of hospitality businesses on the Coast are purchased by interstate migrants who have come from other jobs and think, “How hard can this be?”

Consequently, keen managers are appointed and often overloaded and soon suffer burnout and flee the Coast for their own self-preservation.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor with your name and suburb at Sunshine Coast News via:

We also strike trouble with the standard of training available on the Coast.

There was a time when an establishment could not employ an apprentice in a kitchen without a minimum of two trade-qualified chefs.

Then, when other frustrated staff walk out, the apprentice has to do nearly all of the kitchen jobs. It then does not take too long until this person thinks they need to get the next train out of Dodge, too.

It is my fervent hope that there can be positive changes at legislative level for our hospitality workforce and an overall improvement for these people on the Sunshine Coast.


Affordable housing needed

The problem is no affordable rental housing.

The solution is to restrict hosted short-term accommodation.

My wife and I built a new home on an old block in Mooloolaba 10 years ago.

We have had short-term accommodation on both sides of us and another half-a-dozen within a few hundred metres.

This means lots of noise and general disruption just so a few people can make a killing.

It’s no surprise to us that local workers can’t get reasonable rental accommodation when the place next door is currently listed at $1700 for three nights and full every weekend.


Behind the battle to safeguard harbour 

There have been some concerns about safety and access at the Mooloolaba Harbour entrance in recent months, so I’d like to clear up a few things about what’s been happening.

First and foremost, safety is always the number-one priority when we do anything on the water and this will always guide our decision making.

We received record-breaking rain through late February and into March, plus more record-breaking rain in May. In fact, many parts of South-East Queensland (SEQ) received rainfall for 20-plus consecutive days in May, and barely saw the sun.

And that’s just what was onshore.

Conditions offshore have been just as unprecedented and when you combine these rainfall events with high winds, storms and huge swell, you have incredibly dangerous conditions.

These conditions are dangerous for everyone, including the dredge operator at the Mooloolaba Harbour entrance.

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) allocates funding each year to maintenance dredging of the Mooloolaba Harbour entrance channel to ensure a safe passage which varies depending on the frequency and length of shoaling from currents.

Large, ongoing shoaling in 2020-21 required contractors to almost continuously dredge the harbour entrance from September 2020 to November 2021.

The dredge was again mobilised at the river entrance just before the SEQ floods in February this year.

Unforeseen extreme weather and unfavourable conditions since then have unfortunately meant it has only been able to dredge for a limited number of days.

No amount of dredging before the series of extreme weather events could have prepared the area for what was to come.

A larger dredge with a deeper draught would have had restricted use during this time if used, due to its size limiting the hours it could operate between tidal windows.

Improved weather and swell conditions over the past few weeks have allowed dredging to create a safe channel into Mooloolaba Harbour to a depth of 2.5 metres below Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT).

Under instruction from MSQ, contractors will continue working this week to deepen the channel to 3.5m below LAT to allow for resilience.

MSQ is actively managing access to the Mooloolaba River entrance channel to ensure a safe, accessible waterway for all users.

MSQ continues to work on a longer-term plan to address the river entrance shoaling.

So, to boaties and commercial operators: please understand we have been doing what we can to keep the entrance safe, but have been faced with unprecedented weather conditions.

I ask for your patience should similar conditions return and need you to know we will only do what is deemed safe by experts as we explore longer-term solutions.

In the meantime, head to for current notices and Mooloolaba boat harbour dredging for project information.

MARK BAILEY, Minister for Transport and Main Roads

A natural wonder indeed

I really enjoyed Shirley Sinclair’s great travel piece on Ball’s Pyramid, headlined The little-known wonder you have to see to believe. The photos were good, too.

I remember it well from trips to Lord Howe Island when I lived in Sydney, though I was content to view it from the shore, being a very unenthusiastic sailor.

Lord Howe Island is also a much under-rated place to stay, and when I was there, the islanders were smart enough to keep it that way by strictly limiting visitor numbers. Hopefully, that still applies.