Jun 5, 2013

Question Without Notice – Queensland Budget: Bruce Highway & Cross River Rail

KIRSTEN LIVERMORE My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and the Minister for Regional Development and Local Government.  Will the minister update the House on the new investments the government is making to build infrastructure in Queensland?  How is this investment, improving productivity and safety, being received?

ANTHONY ALBANESE – I thank the Member for Capricornia for her question.  She is a passionate advocate of investment in the Bruce Highway, particularly in her area of Queensland.

Indeed, we have delivered, through work such as at Yeppoon, for the Bruce Highway as part of the announcement that we made in the Budget of a $4.1 billion, ten-year plan, bringing our total investment in the Bruce since we came to office in 2007 to some $5.7 billion.  That’s real money for real projects to make a real difference.

The Leader of the Nationals [Warren Truss] called upon us to match Queensland’s billion-dollar commitment to the Bruce Highway.  He said this in July last year:

“Campbell Newman has committed the incoming LNP government to an extra billion dollars for the Bruce Highway.  Clearly the Federal Government needs to match that offer.”

Well, we didn’t just match it with a billion dollars; we put $4.1 billion on the table.

I would have expected in yesterday’s Budget from the Queensland Government to have seen some funds.  I looked for it and saw the Queensland Transport Minister say that they will deliver a record $690 million for the Bruce Highway.  I thought, ‘Well, that’s all right – $690 million.  I wonder how much of it is Queensland money and how much is from the Federal Government?’  I thought maybe half – maybe $395 million.  Nah.  Of the $690 million they claim, $587 million is from this Treasurer’s Budget.  There is $103 million from Queensland – that’s all.  We are putting in 85 per cent of the funding and they are claiming 100 per cent of the credit.  And they say that this is their big priority.

But it gets worse, because they wrote to us about the Cross River Rail project.  They said, ‘If you put in $715 million we’ll put in $715 million.’  I looked for it in their budget.  Not a zack, not a cent, for the Cross River Rail project.  But it gets better.  Today we find out they have an alternative plan for the congestion!  They are going to rip seats out of the trains and make people stand up.  That is the Newman Government’s solution to congestion on Brisbane’s rail system.  That is austerity in practice.  That is the position of this bloke (Tony Abbott), who has said he won’t put one cent into the Cross River Rail project.  The combination is diabolical and it is a farce.

Queenslanders deserve better.