Devastating twist as 84 homes bulldozed for scrapped road project

In the midst of a devastating housing crisis, locals say it's just not good enough.

The scrapping a new road project that saw more than 80 homes bulldozed to make room for it has been branded "really upsetting" and an "absolute travesty" by devastated locals.

A total of 135 homes along the Mooloolah River on the Sunshine Coast were acquired by the Queensland Government to make way for a new interchange — that had been planned for more than a decade — in a bid to create a safer highway and combat congestion.

A total of 84 of those properties were demolished entirely, and while $80 million in compensation was handed out to homeowners, they say it's been of little comfort to them after news broke the project lost funding, and now likely won't be going ahead at all.

84 Queensland homes demolished for uncertain project

Packages one and two of the Mooloolah River Interchange upgrade, as well as the Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrade, were both axed after the federal government’s infrastructure audit was released last Thursday.

What remains of the homes already demolished for the Mooloolah River Interchange.
What remains of the homes already demolished for the Mooloolah River Interchange. Source: ABC.

The first stage of planned works at the interchange was set to cost the taxpayer about $320 million, with the state and federal governments agreeing to split the bill — although that plan has now been shelved.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine King last week announced the Commonwealth had axed a total 50 "high-risk" projects across all states and territories over fears of cost blowouts and delays.

The move has seen nine projects in Queensland face the chopping block, and a further five put on hold until it's been determined how much they'll cost. These include the Sunshine Coast rail extension to Maroochydore and the M1 Daisy Hill to Logan Motorway.

Resident of 17 years forced to leave beloved home

Mountain Creek resident Lynette Martin, who has lived in the are area for 17 years, was forced to give up her home for the doomed project. She said the ordeal has left her "really upset" and angry over the news it may have all been for nothing.

The Mooloolah River project.
The Mooloolah River project was set to cost a total of $320 million. Source: Queensland Government.

"I was trying to put this off, but I couldn't put it off. They said you can't," she told 9News.

"It was my home and I didn't want to leave, and when they did that to me, I just ... I don't know — I was really upset about it. They didn't give me what I wanted. I wanted more but they wouldn't do it.

"I don't understand why they had to knock them all down. It has been for nothing if they're not gonna do the road."

Member for Buderim Brent Mickelberg said the project simply "must go ahead".

Lynette Martin.
Lynette Martin's home was bulldozed for the project that now may not go ahead. Source: Nine.

"The project needs to go ahead, let's be very clear, but it would be an absolute travesty if in the middle of a housing crisis residents were kicked out of their homes, the homes were knocked down, and then the project didn't proceed," Mickelberg said.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey believes the project will eventually be completed, but that he will need to discuss funding options with the treasurer, who revealed the state can't afford to fund it on its own.

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