The Turnbull Government’s latest Budget failed to make any investment in Brisbane’s much-needed Cross River Rail, a transformative project that will unlock South East Queensland’s passenger rail network and deliver more trains, more often for commuters.
That’s why today I reaffirmed Federal Labor’s commitment to invest $2.24 billion of Federal funding to deliver this project in partnership with the Queensland Government if elected at the coming election.
I provided this assurance during a visit to Kippa-Ring Station, one of the six new railway stations built as part of the Redcliffe Rail Line. First promised more than a century ago in 1895, this new line was finally delivered with investment from the former Federal Labor Government.
But importantly, this was just one of many infrastructure projects we funded in Queensland the last time we were in government. The others included Legacy Way, the Gateway North Upgrade, the widening and upgrading of the Ipswich Motorway, and the Gold Coast Light Rail.
We also made a record investment in the Bruce Highway.
All up, we more than doubled annual investment in the State’s infrastructure from $143 to $314 per Queenslander.
This record of real money for real projects that are now making a real difference stands in stark contrast to the Turnbull Government’s latest Budget, which was a triumph of spin over substance.
Indeed, ninety per cent of the Federal infrastructure funding allocated to Queensland in last month’s Budget will not be invested for at least four years.
This means the delivery of projects such as the upgrades to the Bruce Highway between Pine Rivers and Caloundra, the M1 Upgrade and duplication of the North Coast Line, is off on the Never Never.
Queenslanders waiting for the extra rail and road funding promised in the days leading up to the 2018 Budget will have to re-elect the Coalition not once, but twice more before the bulk of the money flows.
This is simply absurd.
As a fast growing, decentralised state, Queensland needs investment in job creating, productivity enhancing infrastructure projects now, not years from now.
As well as postponing vital investment until years down the track, the Turnbull Government also lacks the ability to translate its past promises into bulldozers on work sites. The fact is the difference between what they promised to invest in the State’s infrastructure over their first four budgets and what was actually spent, amounts to $1.1 billion.
Only Labor is committed to delivering the infrastructure Queensland needs.