Brisbane’s highly anticipated Toowong to West End Green Bridge is now in limbo, as the city authorities recently announced budget cuts, forcing an indefinite pause on the project.
The project, already experiencing delays, was set to enter a detailed design phase later this year. However, Brisbane City Council’s decision to cut spending by 10 percent as a response to the ongoing global inflation crisis has now placed the future of the bridge in uncertainty.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner revealed that the Council would implement a significant $400 million spending cut in its 2023/2024 budget.
Cr Schrinner justified this emergency budget cut as a critical measure to prevent a forecasted budget blowout in the coming year, driven by escalating costs of construction labour, materials, and services.
The Toowong to West End Green Bridge, which is one of the four green bridges planned for the city, will be impacted.
The council had previously unveiled the concept design for the green bridge, which is built upon the favoured alignment stretching from the southeast corner of 600 Coronation Drive, Toowong, to Orleigh Park (near Forbes Street), West End.
Beyond the Green Bridges program, other areas affected by the budget cuts include the Brisbane Metro, advertising, consultants, travel expenses, and councillor ward budgets. Notably, the shading project for Victoria Bridge, estimated at $5 million, has also been halted indefinitely.
Cr Schrinner defended the decision, drawing parallels between the Council’s approach and responsible household budgeting. He stressed the importance of spending less to prevent residents from facing higher costs, resulting in Council planning to reduce its daily spending by $1.6 million from its $4.2 billion budget.
Despite the severity of the cuts, the Lord Mayor assured that there would be no staff redundancies or impacts on waste collection services.
The adoption of these measures seems to be a calculated step aimed at preventing potential increases in rates, particularly in light of the approaching election year. As Brisbane residents anticipate the consequences, the future of various significant projects, such as the Toowong to West End Green Bridge, remains uncertain.