Subject: Queensland infrastructure.
CORINNE MULLHOLLAND: Welcome to the Federal Electorate of Petrie. My name is Corinne Mullholland, I am Labor’s candidate here in Petrie. Where we are standing is one of the fastest growing communities on the Australian continent. This part of the world, the Northside of Brisbane, is forecast to grow by over 40 per cent over the next 20 years and big numbers like that require a big plan of government. The Federal Liberals have had six long years to do something about major infrastructure here on the Northside. We’re standing here beside the Gateway Motorway and motorists here on the Northside have been left wanting on every single occasion from this Federal Liberal Government. What we’ve seen from our local federal representatives Luke Howarth and Peter Dutton, is that they would rather bicker and fight amongst themselves than fight for additional funding for roads here on the Northside. And while they fight each other, motorists here on the Northside are left to fight their way through traffic every single day just to get to work, get around, and get the kids to school. So I’m absolutely excited to be here today with Anthony Albanese our Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. And I’m doubly pleased to be standing with my Federal Labor candidates Ali France, Anika Wells and Susan Lamb, who are just as pleased as I am to see a great announcement. So without further ado I will ask Anthony to say a few words about this exciting announcement for the Northside.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much, Corrine. It’s fantastic to be here on the Northside of Brisbane with four fantastic Labor women who will transform the politics of this region. The fact is that this region has been left behind and has been taken for granted. We know there’s enormous growth here, and the last time we were in government we did two major projects. We did the Gateway Motorway North, where we put the money into the budget. And of course we did the Redcliffe Railway Line, first promised in 1895, but it took a Federal Labor government to deliver it, because it takes Federal Labor to deliver infrastructure, not just talk about it. I want to talk about two projects in particular. Firstly, Linkfield Road, what we have from the Government is a commitment that they’ll do something about it if you elect Scott Morrison, and if you elect whoever would lead the Liberal Party after they knock Scott Morrison off in the next term to the following election. So, not this term, not next term, but the one after they say they’ll do something about this. Well, Labor will get this done and we’ll get it commenced in our first term with a $100 million commitment. The second issue is the very important extension of the Gateway to the north, up to Pine Rivers, and the improvements in the Bruce Highway between its beginning and Dohles Rocks. We will contribute $1.5 billion for what is a critical pinch point. That will deliver not just an upgrade with extra lanes, but also improvements in terms of the access points to the Bruce Highway. We know this is absolutely critical because of the growth that is occurring here in the population. We know also that what you need to do is to invest, not just in roads but rail also. So this complements our $2.2 billion commitment to the Cross River Rail Project which was contracted just yesterday. What we have from the Federal Coalition is not a single dollar in Tuesday night’s budget for the Cross River Rail Project, road announcements off on the never-never, and no plan to actually deal with the challenges that are needed to seriously deliver on reducing urban congestion. Making sure that people can get to and from work quicker, making sure that in terms of access to public transport that people are able to have that, and making sure that people can just get around their local community. Some of the work that’s been done by the Queensland Government in planning about the exit points to the major highway are critical for that. At the same time of course like other infrastructure projects funded by the Federal Budget, we’ll make sure ten per cent of the workforce are apprentices, that locals are being skilled-up at the same time as the infrastructure’s being built. We’ll make sure that medium-sized Australian-based firms get a crack at the work here. We’ll make sure that intelligent transport systems are built into the off-ramps and on-ramps on the expansion that occurs. We’ll make sure that we maximise the benefit of this infrastructure investment. I’d ask the other Member and candidates if they’d like to say a few things.
SUSAN LAMB: Thanks, Anthony. Well, last night the Australian people heard about a plan to move our country forward. They heard about a plan to properly fund our schools and hospitals. They heard of a plan to take real action on energy and climate change, and they heard about a plan to invest in infrastructure and jobs. For over six years now this Liberal Government has done nothing but ignore people who live on the Northside of Brisbane. Our tradies are sitting in traffic every single day. People are spending more hours away from home just trying to travel into work. We’ve got one of the fastest growing regions in the country and people need a job. Well this Government has ignored it, they’ve taken no action. They have totally just walked away from people in Queensland. In actual fact there is not one dollar for an infrastructure project in Queensland this year. Well today the $1.5 billion announcement for an upgrade of the Bruce Highway from the Gateway all the way though to Caboolture is very, very welcome for our community. It’s welcome for infrastructure, it’s welcome for jobs that people in our community need. I’ll hand over to the next member for Dickson, Labor’s candidate Ali France to talk to us about what this means for her community.
ALI FRANCE: Thanks Susan, and it’s really wonderful to have Albo up here again with us on the Northside, and also to be surrounded by the member for Longman and our other fabulous female candidates. It’s really wonderful to be able to announce such a significant $1.5 billion road infrastructure investment in this area. People who live in my electorate of Dickson have been crying out for extra federal funding for road projects across this region. I think what they’re going to be most excited about is road upgrades between the Gateway and Dohles Rocks Road, and the $100 million that’s been committed towards fixing Linkfield Road. I’m really pleased that this will be commenced within the first three years of a Labor Government. These projects will deliver much-needed, many thousands of jobs for our region. They will ensure that people spend less time in their cars, and ensure that roads are safer. I’m really pleased with this announcement here today and I think the people of Dickson will be absolutely thrilled. I’m now going to hand over to Anika Wells.
ANIKA WELLS: Hello everyone, I’m Anika Wells, the Labor candidate for Lilley. I think Albo and the girls have said it already for you but I must say I’m so pleased to see that the Labor team will commit $1.5 billion in the first term of government to help upgrade Northside roads. We’re crying out for it, people want to know – what is our vision for Northside? Will it remain a great place for people to live, work and raise their children? With an investment of $1.5 billion in our roads, it’s something we can commit to making sure will happen. That, plus our commitment to Cross River Rail means that we’ll make a very real difference to the everyday lives of people here on the Northside if they trust us with their vote this election.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks very much, happy to take any questions.
REPORTER: Just in terms of Linkfield Road, I know you are saying the Coalition hasn’t put the money aside but if you ask them they actually say that that $100 million comes from the $1.4 billion Bruce Highway Future Priorities Commitment which was in the 2018-2019 Budget. So they’re saying the money is there.
ALBANESE: Well that’s not right. If you have a look at the budget papers and the documentation that has gone forward to Queensland, there is not a single dollar allocated for this project over the next three years, over this term that is coming up. There’s simply not and the fact is that this Government has been caught out. The fact is right across the country they’ve used big figures. When you look at the detail it’s simply not there it is off beyond the forward estimates. In Queensland’s case it is well under 10 per cent off in terms of the Forward Estimates, there’s under 10 per cent of funding. So what Queensland needs and what growing regions like this need is action and it’s not surprising, that’s consistent. Peter Dutton has been promising to do something about this during this term. He promised it last term. He promised it the term before. He’s been there for years
I can confirm that when I was the Transport and Infrastructure Minister there was no representation from Peter Dutton about this project. It took Ali France and Corinne Mulholland to approach, ask them to do the work and to make sure that this commitment was given. The only reason why there was a commitment, even, into the never-never given by Peter Dutton and the member for Petrie who also of course opposed the funding of Redcliffe Rail Line when it came out. The fact is that they haven’t delivered, and it will take a Labor Government to deliver it. Just like it took a Labor Government to actually fund in the Budget: Gateway Motorway North and Redcliffe Rail Line and other important infrastructure. We did fund of course Cross River Rail as well and the incoming Abbott Government with these two people as local members, ripped that funding out of the Budget even though it was an agreement that had been undertaken with Campbell Newman’s Government. So it’s quite extraordinary that they’ve been let down by these local MPs, the candidates I have with me today, I am proud to say would actually deliver. And it’s significant that Bill Shorten’s major new announcement on infrastructure last night was the $1.5 billion upgrade for this region because Bill Shorten and I, and Chris Bowen as the Treasurer, and Jim Chalmers certainly as the Finance Minister, a great advocate for Queensland, understand that this growing part of Australia needs that infrastructure investment.
REPORTER: That $1.5 billion for the duplication up to Caboolture, is that like 50/50 with the State?
ALBANESE: No. It’s a significant contribution. The final costings on the second section haven’t been done as yet but it will be far greater than a 50/50 contribution. We want to make sure that it gets done. This is a significant contribution from Federal Labor and this will be very much a majority funding of this project. We’ll wait and see how the final costings come in and of course we want to do that. We’ve been talking with the Queensland Government about this project, about how we do the next step and deliver in terms of the Bruce Highway. Of course, it has to be remembered when you’re talking about the Bruce Highway, the Howard Government was there for twelve years. They delivered over twelve years, $1.3 billion total funding for the Pacific Highway. $1.3 billion. Over that whole time. We delivered, we’re delivering today a commitment for more than that for just that section of the Gateway and the beginning of the Bruce Highway.
REPORTER: Ok, when you say the second section is that the second bit from the Pine River to Caboolture.
REPORTER: Ok. Is there likely to be any land resumptions along that section you think.
ALBANESE: That should not be a significant issue, my understanding is, what you’re talking about is extra lanes both ways but also, extra entry points and exit points as well.
REPORTER: Where will they likely be, those exit and entry points?
ALBANESE: I can get that detail for you.
REPORTER: Ok. And also, with the bridge over the Pine River, is that just upgrading the current bridge or is it a new bridge somewhere else?
ALBANESE: It will be effectively a new bridge because you can’t just put in an extra lane. But the engineering work will be done by the Queensland Government and that will commence immediately if we are elected and will be available as soon as possible, but we need to finalize the planning work. A lot of work has been done. But most of the planning work has been done on that section with Gateway Motorway North, that extension up, to the commencement of the Bruce Highway. But we will work with the Queensland Government on this. But we want to make sure that planning work will be undertaken with the confidence that it will be a $1.5-billion commitment from the Commonwealth.
REPORTER: And in terms of the intelligence systems that you said will be there, is that something that’s new or is that already in place?
ALBANESE: In some places it’s called Managed Motorways, Smart Infrastructure or Intelligent Transport Systems. Essentially, what it can do very effectively is increase the productivity of the road by essentially making sure that traffic can flow smoothly onto a highway or motorway. And we know that out of that you can get significant boosts in terms of bang-for-the-buck. When I was Infrastructure Minister, Infrastructure Australia did a study into these systems. It found that the benefit cost was more than ten to one in most cases. So, this means ten times the productivity to every dollar that was spent on intelligent transport systems. So, what we want to do, is to make sure that particularly in the congested parts of highways, where there’s significant traffic volume, that we have smart infrastructure. It’s just the sensible thing to do. And it’s easier to do that at the time that new construction is occurring rather than to go back and to rectify it. So, the cost is minimal, the benefit is great indeed.
REPORTER: What does it actually do?
ALBANESE: What it does, say for example, where there’s an on-ramp onto the Bruce Highway, essentially is to put traffic lights, connected to sensors to identify where the gaps in the traffic are so that the traffic can flow smoothly on. We’ve all driven down highways, we all know that if you’re in a lane and a car or heavy vehicle comes out in front of you, the whole lane of traffic slows down. What that does is have an impact then on the traffic behind as well. So, what Intelligent Transport Systems do is make sure that there’s a smooth flow of traffic. That you minimize the slow down, that you minimise the disruption. And it’s also, of course, a great safety measure. If you look at some of the incidents that have occurred on our highways it can be about traffic either going on or off in those initial stages and the difference between, you can’t of course go from 0 to 100 or whatever the speed is in that particular section of the highway. And it also, in one second you have to get up to that speed. And it also enables you, as you drive down our highways, quite often there will be a slowdown, where all the traffic has to slow down at an entry point as a safety measure. What it enables you to do, is to minimize that as well and so you get consistent flow of traffic.
REPORTER: And Dohles Rocks Road, the intersection there, what are your plans for that?
ALBANESE: Well that’s in terms of the upgrades we know a lot of the planning has been done for there. We think that this work can go essentially up as far as Caboolture, we’re hoping in terms of the funding, can be up there, identifying how you maximise the benefit for this funding.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.