Moreton Transport: Cross River Rail & Inland Rail are Mr Turnbull's End of the Line

Full transcript below:

I rise to speak on the motion put by the member for Grayndler, who knows my electorate of Moreton well. I have stood alongside him at many places in South Brisbane because we have an important confluence of transport links. The Ipswich Motorway comes in from the west, servicing people from Toowoomba, Sydney and beyond. The motorway connects to the north via Ipswich Road or the east via Granard and Riawena roads. The Beaudesert Road brings people from the south-west through Acacia Ridge and Moorooka and into the city. Oxley Road is an important link to the growth corridors of Forest Lake, Heathwood and beyond. They go over the Indooroopilly bridge or the Western Freeway.

There are train lines. The Ipswich line brings people in from the west through Oxley, Corinda, Graceville and Chelmer. There is a spur off to the Beenleigh line through Tennyson for goods and coal. The Beenleigh train line connects the Gold Coast and Brisbane. The standard gauge interstate train line connects all the way from Perth through to Melbourne and Sydney and right up to Acacia Ridge. The goods depot at Tennyson, next to the Brisbane Markets, is the beginning of the journey for goods going north right through to Cairns. Mains Road is the second busiest bus route in Brisbane that is not actually a busway.

Moreton's transport routes are very busy and, sadly, are becoming more and more congested. I have nearly 19,000 businesses, and many of them are connected with transport. Traffic congestion is becoming a daily battle for many of my constituents travelling either to work or to study and even on the weekends when they are trying to access play. It is not just the inconvenience of being stuck in traffic, driving bumper to bumper for kilometres on end; traffic congestion has an economic impact on growth in Queensland.

The Merivale Bridge is currently the only rail crossing over the Brisbane River in the city's CBD. That is between the city of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It is fast approaching capacity. Without a second rail crossing, Brisbane's economic growth will be reduced, along with its capacity to create jobs for the future. This is probably why the independent body Infrastructure Australia has already approved the Cross River Rail project.

In fact we had the former transport minister, who has an electorate in mine, ready to go to the press conference with Anthony Albanese to announce it, but, sadly, it was sabotaged by Campbell Newman. The former Labor government funded the project in 2013 but since then the Turnbull government has failed all Queenslanders by stalling on this important infrastructure project that we need right now.

Increasing the capacity of the rail network would not only benefit people living in my electorate of Moreton but it would directly benefit people travelling into Brisbane from regional areas—not just the Gold Coast to the south and beyond but also the Sunshine Coast to the north and Toowoomba in the west. There has been deathly silence from the LNP federal members representing people in these regional areas, despite this infrastructure project having a direct benefit for their constituents. This project would facilitate an additional 19,000 bums on public transport seats during peak hour, which would make our roads less congested. Importantly, increasing the capacity of the rail network would benefit all Queenslanders by fuelling economic growth—everywhere north of the Tweed. The LNP betrayed our national car industry for short-sighted political reasons, but it is a no-brainer to invest in this type of infrastructure. If our cities are congested, our regions suffer right along with our urban areas.

In the 2017 budget the Turnbull government did not announce any funding for the Cross River Rail project. However, it did announce funding of $8.4 billion to build the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail. 'The biggest rail project in 100 years', they said in their media release—a Warren Truss legacy. There is one problem I can see with this project: it ends at Acacia Ridge. Acacia Ridge is not on the Port of Brisbane; it is right in the middle of my electorate, and so far there is no plan to get the freight from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane or vice versa. There is no plan that does not involve double handling of freight and more B-doubles on the streets of Moreton.

There are a couple of options available to move freight between Acacia Ridge and the Port of Brisbane. One option is to build a tunnel from Acacia Ridge to the port—a tunnel right under the homes of people living in Sunnybank, Robertson and MacGregor with ventilation shafts going in the middle of these homes. The other option is for another train line to be built alongside the Gateway Motorway. That option would have a devastating impact on Karawatha Forest, one of the largest areas of remnant bushland left in the City of Brisbane. That would be a concern for the residents of Runcorn, Kuraby and Eight Mile Plains.

Sadly, neither of these options have been funded. This is like another fibre to the node type nation-building project—it just stops at Acacia Ridge. The trucks will move the freight from Acacia Ridge by road, which for transport is the equivalent of using copper in the NBN. It would create further congestion in my electorate. The Turnbull government needs to do more.

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  • published this page in Speeches 2017-05-24 12:38:53 +1000

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