Jun 6, 2013

Consideration in Detail – Investment in Infrastructure

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government) (10:59):  To wrap up this series, the F3 to M2 is an absolutely vital project. It effectively will be the Sydney bypass.

It means that vehicles can go from the south, head north via the M7 and M2 and on to what has been the missing link. It is a vital project. We sat down constructively with the New South Wales government and with Transurban and got this done. Without the federal government’s $400-million investment, it simply would not have happened. The previous government did lots of studies but no action. On top of that we have the F3 upgrades we announced with the Prime Minister and the member for Robertson. It will make a huge difference to the Central Coast.

It appears that the Queensland state government is against investment in Brisbane because, in the budget they handed down yesterday, they failed to put any money into the Gateway North project at all. They have only put $5 million into the next section of the Ipswich motorway and they failed to put any funding at all into the Cross River rail project, which is absolutely vital in dealing with congestion. Indeed they have come up with quite an innovative plan.

A new rail crossing across the river would ensure that people not just in Brisbane but people on the Sunshine Coast and on the Gold Coast and everywhere in between could benefit. Four new rail stations were also envisaged. But after writing to us and making a number of requests—all of which were agreed to—and after exchanging letters in writing about this project, they walked away from it under pressure from the federal coalition.

The Queensland state government have come up with another unique and innovative plan. They plan to rip the seats out of the existing trains and make people stand on the train so they can squeeze more people in. I am sure they will have an employment project just like you see in Tokyo whereby people with gloves will be charged with pushing people, cramming them like sardines, on to the trains.

Honourable members interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE:  As member the for Moreton suggested, that might be stage 2 of the solution from the Queensland state government.

What we now know about the Moreton Bay regional rail link is that all contracts which have not been entered into on public transport projects are under threat from the federal coalition should they be elected. The Cross River rail project was first promised in the Queensland parliament in 1895. The whole of the next century went through without a commitment. It took the current Federal Labor Government, largely due to the campaign by the member for Petrie over and over again, to make this a reality. It has begun but I am very concerned that the project is under threat because of the statements on the record from the coalition, which is they do not believe in any investment in public transport. To quote the Leader of the Opposition, they should ‘stick to their knitting’, which consists of minor road funding in marginal electorates. It was what the record was previously. There should be no funding.

They and the Leader of the National Party have made it very clear that they do not believe in sticking to commitments where contracts have not been entered into. They have made it very clear that is their position. We know in spite of the fact that there are so many people on the record, including the Premier of Queensland and the transport minister, supporting the Cross River rail project but it is not going ahead. I think other projects would be under threat as well. The only way to ensure that proper infrastructure funding for South-East Queensland as well as for the whole of regional Queensland including the Bruce Highway is with the re-election of the Labor government.(Time expired)