With the court case drawing closer, there is understandable duress in our communities, however please be mindful of social media commentary, as well care and look out for each other.

COUNCIL/TMR/POLICE SUMMARY

  • Legal case: pre-trial review 25 February, then proceed to P&E Court on 2 March.
  • A reminder that this court case is regarding limiting the number of truck movements as there is no legal ability to seek the closure of the quarry as per previous advices to the roundtable group.
  • Under current COVID measures, there are certain requirements for anyone attending Court, so please liaise with Ian Williams from Council if you wish or need to attend.
  • In response to those again raising that Council has not continued to issue fines for quarry breaches, we were reminded this was under advice from the legal team.
  • With traffic branch police no longer attending borders, they will again be in our area frequently, so a reminder to locals, as to statistics provided previously regarding speed as well roadside drug tests. There will also be further vehicle compliance checks.
  • TMR have confirmed that the haulage route assessments required as part of future TMR contracts includes hauls with materials going to batching plants for use in concrete on TMR projects.
  • Whilst TMR have still not provided actual maintenance figures for Kin Kin Rd, they have said there has been general increases over recent years, and it is a significant spend for this tier of road and reflects TMR’s commitment in endeavouring to maintain the road in a safe and serviceable condition for the community.
  • TMR have advised that recent wet weather has made road repairs difficult due to the substrate also being wet as they need the substrate dry for the significant repairs needed. They noted that even higher tier roads such as the D’Aguillar Hwy has pavement damage currently.
  • TMR are progressing with the full route assessment, although the requirements and potential fixes continue to change. For example, the edge strengthening planned, may not be enough and instead they are progressing designs for full pavement works which will give better outcomes than only strengthening edges. Continued failures in patches and repaired sections of road can indicate substrate issues that require substantial fixes. Full width pavement restoration uses a different product and is superior to patches. This is all being considered within their assessment, under guidance from an expert, who will provide comments on the final report which should be completed next couple of months.
  • TMR should have road designs completed within next few months and there are some discretional funds available, which they can use for Kin Kin Rd.
  • Bookends – funding for the northern bookend and design is nearly complete including needed environmental approvals etc. Works should start possibly mid to late 2022. The southern bookend does not have approved funding as yet, however TMR are still progressing designs in readiness.
  • Six Mile – no changes since last reported with design on track to be finalised early 2022 with works to commence later this year. No specific footpath, however the lanes are 3.5m wide, with 2m shoulders to safely accommodate active road users (cyclists and pedestrians) even if trucks meet on the bridge.
  • Police have cautioned residents from purposely driving at slow speed in front of trucks. This is a chargeable offence, and they would rather not have to fine anyone for this.

MP SUMMARY

Apart from the immediacy of court cases and road conditions, work continues to ensure improvements to environmental regulatory processes and management. This includes consideration of changes to the environmental approvals framework under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. As new and emerging environmental risks are recognised, it is important that our legislation is amended to address, and we all know one shortfall is that Environmental Authorities do not currently consider impacts outside the property boundaries. Whilst it would also be beneficial if any changes achieved through this process could be applied retrospectively, there are legal ramifications that generally preclude this, although we will continue to pursue options through the new Independent Environmental Authority currently being formed.

As I suggested at the Roundtable, in response to the new engineer reports and affidavits, I have written to TMR asking for their immediate and urgent consideration of this information in relation to school bus safety, which is publicly available as part of the court case, and we await their urgent response.

In addition, Council issued a media release stating that they are seeking urgent assistance from the State Transport Minister to intervene under section 46 of the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994, and that they have written to the Minister on several occasions requesting that they step in with an interim stop of trucks on the state-controlled road. At my request after the August 2021 roundtable meeting, TMR held a meeting with Council in September 2021 to discuss options available to both under the legislation. I have requested a further meeting, to this time include myself and Mayor Clare, as I was not aware any issues had not been resolved in that meeting. You can read the reporting of TMR’s position regarding this legislation in our previous post at https://www.sandybolton.com/kin-kin-pomona-cooran-heavy-haulage-update-august-2021/

This has been a long and arduous journey for those living with the daily impacts, and as I said in the meeting, trust is important, and that we all keep working together and supporting each other . We spoke last year about how it would get more difficult the closer we got to trial, and that has certainly proven true as everyone is exhausted and fearful of safety on the roads for all including schoolchildren. We are nearly there, so please support each other and reach out for help to the contacts provided when needed 🙏