Jul 27, 2017

Cheap excuses won’t solve traffic congestion

The Turnbull Government should stop the excuses and get behind the much-needed Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.

News yesterday that Infrastructure Australia has refused to back this important project is extremely disappointing given the same organisation approved its business case in 2012 and declared it “ready to go’’.

On the basis of that approval, the former Federal Labor Government and the former LNP Queensland Government reached a deal to deliver Cross River Rail in 2013 – a fact former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman confirmed on Sky News on May 29 this year.

Indeed, the project would be nearing completion today if incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott had not scrapped it later in 2013 and transferred the funding to toll road projects in Sydney and Melbourne. Those road projects were funded without business cases, no questions asked.

Since ousting Mr Abbott, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed he wants to invest in public transport but failed to provide a dollar of new investment.

Mr Turnbull likes to take selfies on trains, trams and buses. He should invest in trains, trams and buses.

Failure to deliver a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in Brisbane CBD soon will act as a hand brake on economic and jobs growth, not just in Brisbane, but right across South East Queensland.

The Queensland Government understands this and is going it alone on the project, which will create 8000 jobs during construction and take 19,500 cars a day off the city’s roads.

While Mr Turnbull is happy to hand out money to projects in southern states with no evidence of their value for money, he is stonewalling on Brisbane’s infrastructure needs.

The only thing stopping Commonwealth investment in the vital Cross River Rail project is politics. Queenslanders deserve better than that.