Palaszczuk Government steps in to protect 300 Jobs on Varsity Lakes to Tugun M1 upgrade

Published Saturday, 18 November, 2023 at 11:47 AM

Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services
The Honourable Mark Bailey

  • The upgrades at Varsity Lakes and Tugun, Exit 85 and Exit 95 along the M1 Motorway continue to progress with bridge structure works at Tallebudgera Creek nearing completion.
  • Due to a number of significant weather events and the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and asbestos, the project is now expected to cost $1.5 billion, with the Palaszczuk Government underwriting the $500 million of additional funds to complete the project.
  • The Australian Government refused to meet its fair share (50 per cent of new funds required or $250 million) despite being warned it would lead to 300 jobs being lost before Christmas.

The Palaszczuk Government is delivering the now $1.5 billion Pacific Motorway Varsity Lakes to Tugun (VL2T) project to upgrade 10km of the M1, with Package B bridge structure works nearing completion.

The structure works on the bridge at Tallebudgera Creek are nearing completion over the creek and Tallebudgera Creek Road for the new western service road.

The upgrade has navigated a number of unavoidable issues which have impacted the delivery of the project, including significant wet weather events during successive La Nina weather patterns in recent years.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in Package B and asbestos was found in Package C works. The management and removal of these substances caused significant delays early on in the project and has added to the project cost.

Due to these considerable challenges, an additional $500 million is required to complete the project.

The Palaszczuk Government sought funding at 50:50 from the Australian Government, but was only provided with $70 million in additional funds across the entire M1 corridor, despite being warned that without extra funding 300 workers would be stood down and lose their jobs before Christmas.

Quotes attributable to Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey:

“The Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade has navigated a number of unprecedented issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent supply chain delays and nationwide cost escalations.

“When complete, VL2T will be a game-changing upgrade for M1 commuters.

“Despite this additional investment by the Palaszczuk Government, saving hundreds of jobs, it still remains at risk as part of the M1 Pacific Motorway package in the Federal Government Infrastructure Review.

“The corridor program proposed by the Australian Government provides insufficient funds to deliver all the projects included and will require the Queensland Government to determine which to cut and continue.

“No state is as transparent as Queensland when it comes to our infrastructure priorities, and we will continue to fight for landmark projects like VL2T.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to this project.  Faced with the same circumstances, we know the LNP would cut it, leaving commuters with longer delays and more time spent in traffic.”

Further information: Pacific Motorway M1 Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade | Department of Transport and Main Roads (



The upgrade is being constructed in three packages to ensure faster delivery and best value for money.

Package A was completed in late 2022 and packages B and C are in construction and expected to open progressively from 2024. The project packages include:

  1. Package A Varsity Lakes (Exit 85) to Burleigh (Exit 87)
  2. Package B Burleigh (Exit 87) to Palm Beach (Nineteenth Avenue)
  3. Package C Palm Beach (Nineteenth Avenue) to Tugun (Exit 95)

Media contact:  Lesley Major – 0419 288 284