Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, today joined Labor Candidate for Petrie, Jacqui Pederson and Labor Candidate for Dickson, Linda Lavarch at Kippa-Ring Station in Brisbane’s northern suburbs to inspect ongoing construction of the Moreton Bay Rail Link.
This $1 billion project, planned and funded by the former Labor Government in partnership with the Queensland Government, highlights Labor’s record of investing in public transport to reduce traffic congestion, thereby boosting productivity and jobs growth.
Construction began in 2012, and when the project opens it will provide a convenient new option for thousands of commuters who travel each day into central Brisbane from the city’s rapidly-growing northern fringe and the Redcliffe Peninsula.
It will provide 650 new weekly train services, including trains every 6 to 12 minutes during peak times.
At the time of its announcement in 2010, then Liberal candidate for Petrie, Dean Teasdale, told ABC radio “now is not the time’’ to spend the money to build the line. (Interview with Spencer Howson, ABC612, 27 July 2010).
The Liberals’ lack of vision doesn’t stop there. In 2013, the former Abbott Government cancelled all Commonwealth investment in public transport that was not already under contract.
Since the Liberals were elected, public sector infrastructure spending has fallen across the nation by 20 per cent.
While Malcolm Turnbull likes to be photographed riding on trains, trams and buses, he has so far failed to invest one new dollar into public transport.
Instead, he has committed a tiny fraction of the money cut in 2013, and tried to pretend it is a new investment in the hope that Australians won’t notice the fact that his Government has overseen three wasted years when it comes to public transport.
The Moreton Bay Rail Link is exactly the sort of project the Commonwealth should be investing in to combat congestion, which Infrastructure Australia estimates will cost the Australian economy $53 billion by 2031 if no action is taken.
Only a Shorten Labor Government will invest in public transport and get on with developing the roads, freight rail lines and other infrastructure Australia needs to underpin future economic growth.