Hapless Liberal MP for Petrie Luke Howarth has been forced to amend his election material to hide his embarrassment over the Abbott-Turnbull Government cutting funding for the Moreton Bay Rail Link.
Earlier this week, Queensland Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced a delay in the opening of the new line, which will connect suburbs on Brisbane’s northern fringe and the Redcliffe Peninsula to the Brisbane passenger rail network.
The Minister attributed the delay to safety concerns relating to signalling devices.
That delay followed the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s 2014 Budget decision to cut funding for the project by $159 million over what been allocated by the former Federal Labor Government, which announced it in 2010.
At a media conference at Kippa-Ring on 14 January 2015, I warned:
‘‘That will mean it is an inferior project. You can’t cut that sort of money out without winding the project back.’’
Since news of the delay in the opening of the Moreton Bay Rail Link broke, Mr Howarth has changed a large billboard at Rothwell to conceal his embarrassment.
While the sign previously featured a photograph of Mr Howarth with the message Getting Moreton Bay on Track, it has been changed to a generic photograph of Mr Howarth and his family that makes no mention of the rail project.
If Mr Howarth was serious about this much-needed railway line, he would not have sat silent while the Abbott-Turnbull Government cut funding in 2014.
Now that his failure to stand up for his electorate has been exposed, he is hoping people will forget all about it.
Mr Howarth’s duplicity is in line with the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s disinterest in public transport.
When the Abbott-Turnbull Government took office it cancelled more than $4 billion worth of public transport investment.
The only projects that were not stopped in their tracks were those that were already under construction, like the Moreton Bay Rail Link.
Only a Shorten Labor Government will invest in public transport and get on with building the roads, freight rail lines and other infrastructure Australia needs to underpin economic growth.