Queensland Needs Real Infrastructure Investment - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Queensland Needs Real Infrastructure Investment

I recently spoke in the Federation Chamber in relation to Cross River Rail and the M1.

You can read the full speech below.

I rise, of course, to support the motion moved by the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure.

As the amendment says, 85 per cent of the funding that's supposedly being committed for the M1 falls outside the forward estimates period. Queenslanders cannot believe that this government will actually deliver on the money that is supposedly being committed by this federal government. When you hear the Member for Bonner stand up and talk about busting congestion on the south side, you might be excused for being a bit sceptical about that, because the number one project that would bust congestion on the southside is Cross River Rail. This government took the federal funding off the table for Cross River Rail when it was first elected. We haven't seen federal funding for it in any meaningful amount—enough to actually fund some of this infrastructure—ever since. The Queensland government is pushing ahead with Cross River Rail, and I congratulate them, but the fact is that what it would really take to deliver it as soon as possible is for the Turnbull Government to stump up some cash.

As this chamber has already heard, and in very stark contrast, the opposition has pledged serious money for Cross River Rail. Cross River Rail is a project that would actually bust congestion. If you got people off the roads and onto public transport by giving them an opportunity to be able to get public transport that would deliver them to the CBD and to work as soon as possible, then that would, quite obviously, reduce the congestion on the roads and would, also quite obviously, assist people with getting from the suburbs into the CBD, to where their jobs are, as soon as possible.

So I'm very pleased that Labor has announced that if we're elected at the next federal election we'll commit $2.24 billion over the life of the project to make sure that it can happen. I was very pleased to be at the announcement, along with the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, and also with my very good friend the Member for Moreton. Of course, although most of the project will fall within my electorate, it will also affect his electorate. It will also affect the member for Bonner's electorate, because if you lived on the Cleveland line or along the rail line, you would know that it is absolutely ridiculous trying to get into the CBD at peak hour in Brisbane. If you live in Wynnum, if you live in Manly or if you live in Tingalpa and you try to drive along Wynnum Road, or Lytton Road even, to try to get into the CBD at peak hour, you'll know what I'm talking about. If we can actually provide people with a public transport alternative, that will help people to use more public transport and it will also help to clear up congestion on Brisbane's roads.

It is absolutely appropriate to say that the Commonwealth should be pulling its weight when it comes to funding public transport projects like Cross River Rail. Cross River Rail has been around for a very long time. It's been assessed and assessed and assessed. It's a key project that will affect the commuters who live in my electorate and also those who live in Moreton and in Bonner. If Cross River Rail is built, there will be 9,000 extra passenger journeys per day. What it will mean in real terms is that if you live on the Gold Coast or in Beenleigh, this will cut 15 minutes off your commute.

Congestion is a massive problem in my city and it's a massive problem in my electorate. I know that people who live in Bulimba, particularly, or East Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Hawthorne, Balmoral or Morningside—any of those eastern suburbs—are deeply frustrated by the road congestion along Wynnum Road. So am I, I have to say, as someone who does live in those eastern suburbs. I do have to face that congestion, like all the other commuters when heading into the city around peak hour. And if you live towards the south and you try to get in via Ipswich Road it's the same situation.

The member for Forde has moved this self-congratulatory motion about the M1 funding, when he is well aware that only one per cent of that funding is actually in the next year of the budget and that 85 per cent of it is outside the forward estimates, where it's all on the never-never. They're patting themselves on the back for making these announcements, yet, at the same time, there is no commitment on Cross River Rail—a project for which there is a clear case. It's needed, and it's needed urgently. The fact that this government is continuing to drag its heels on this important public transport project while at the same time shouting from the rooftops about the M1 is very disappointing.

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