Residents of Brisbane’s northern suburbs should brace themselves for a blast of cheap propaganda from Malcolm Turnbull in coming weeks as he seeks to take credit for the Moreton Bay Rail Link, which will open on October 3.
While Mr Turnbull and his ministers will be lining up to ride the first service on the 12.6km passenger rail extension to the Redcliffe Peninsula, the truth is that they opposed its construction when it was funded by the former Labor Government and then delayed its completion with a $159 million funding cut in the 2014 Budget.
When the former Labor Government announced the link in 2010, the then Liberal candidate for Petrie, Dean Teasdale, told ABC radio: “now is not the time’’ to invest in the line.
It took a Labor Federal Government to deliver the funding for this important project, which will remove thousands of cars from the roads in Brisbane’s northern suburbs and make a practical difference to the lives of long-suffering commuters.
The opening of the project will throw a spotlight on Mr Turnbull’s absolute hypocrisy on public transport.
While he frequently rides trains to get his picture in the newspapers, Mr Turnbull has ignored the importance of investing in urban rail.
His inaction defies Infrastructure Australia’s warning earlier this year that traffic congestion will cost the nation $53 billion a year in lost productivity by 2031 unless we act now.
Traffic congestion is not just holding back economic growth, but undermining quality of life of millions of suburban Australians.
Yet this Government is failing to act.
Even as Mr Turnbull and his ministers jostle for credit for a Moreton Bay Rail Link they opposed, they continue to refuse to invest in Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Link, which is desperately needed to unblock an emerging rail bottleneck in the city’s CBD.
Australians need a Government prepared to back productivity and jobs growth in our cities.
That starts with actual investment in public transport.