Black Spot Program

October 18, 2021

[by video link] I'm speaking today from Sunnybank on Yuggera and Turrbal land on the motion moved by the member for Forde, noting that Black Spot funding reduces death and serious injury on Australian roads. Labor and I applaud all initiatives that make our roads safer. After all, the Black Spot Program was originally a Hawke government initiative. In 2016, under the Black Spot Program, an intersection at Blunder Road in Oxley was upgraded at a cost of $1.3 million and a section of Bowhill Road at Willawong was upgraded. In 2019, Beenleigh Road at Runcorn was upgraded at a cost of $1.7 million. Earlier this year, in fact, the intersection at Ponsonby Street and Ipswich Road was upgraded at a cost of nearly $2 million. That's about $5 million in funding from the Black Spot Program for my electorate over the eight years that the program has been running under the coalition government.

But there are other intersections and roads in my electorate of Moreton that need attention right now. Warrigal Road, where it meets Beenleigh Road at the train lines, is one. Just last week, that patch of Beenleigh Road under the Gateway Motorway—the bit that's not double-laned—flooded, as it regularly does. The other intersection that's been a problem for many years is the intersection of Ipswich Road and Venner Road in Annerley. This section desperately needs an upgrade, including some better traffic lights and more turning lanes. It's a very dangerous intersection.

I'm hoping the coalition government will add these two intersections to the Black Spot Program very soon. My Moreton electorate is a busy transport hub. The Southeast Freeway borders my electorate to the east, the Gateway Motorway also runs through the southern portion, the Ipswich Motorway runs in from the west, and I've got rail lines for goods and passenger trains and coal going through the electorate. We've got the Beenleigh line, the Ipswich line and the interstate line all sending trains through my electorate of Moreton. The Barnaby boondoggle for the Inland Rail project actually ends in my electorate at Acacia Ridge, nearly 40 kilometres from the Port of Brisbane. How will goods get to the port from Acacia Ridge? I've been asking this question for years, and I still haven't received a suitable answer from the Liberal-National government. Just last week, Deputy Prime Minister Joyce said you could book in an election commitment of coal trains to Gladstone via the Inland Rail. So the coalition government has committed $10 million to a business case to extend the line from Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone. They're just making this up as they go along. Their plan for the Inland Rail currently has it terminating at Acacia Ridge in my electorate. They might—it's a big might—build two 16-kilometre-long tunnels from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane. That was the big new idea announced back in February this year by the member for Bonner, my next-door neighbour. Now they might extend the Toowoomba line to the Port of Gladstone. There is no considered vision with a fair dinkum business case.

I'm worried about my constituents in Moreton. They already live in a very, very busy transport hub. Will they soon have A-double road trains transporting goods through their suburban streets? Will New South Wales coal be coming soon? Will people living in Moreton soon have tunnels being drilled underneath their properties in Sunnybank, Sunnybank Hills, MacGregor and Eight Mile Plains? Tunnels will need to be twice the size of the tunnels being built right now for Cross River Rail to accommodate double-stack trains—or will the Inland Rail bypass Brisbane altogether and go to the Port of Gladstone, which is my preference? We just don't know. More importantly, the Morrison-Joyce government, now in its ninth year, doesn't know either. We've got the Deputy Prime Minister saying it's going to the Port of Gladstone and we've got LNP members in Brisbane—people from 'Team Queensland'—who are saying they're building 16-kilometre-long tunnels.

How much will this rort crossbred with a boondoggle end up costing taxpayers? The Grattan Institute estimated in 2015 that the total cost of Inland Rail would be $9.9 billion, with a worst-case scenario of $10.7 billion. The coalition government has now said the project is estimated to cost $14.9 billion. That's 46 per cent more than their original estimate, and that doesn't take into account the possibility of two 16-kilometre-long megatunnels or an extension of the line from Toowoomba to Gladstone. The Inland Rail is an important investment in national infrastructure but there has to be a plan that makes economic sense, such as the black spot programs do.

I will always encourage infrastructure that improves congestion, makes transport safer and gets product to port more efficiently, but not when there are unintended consequences that may make living in my electorate of Moreton less desirable. I want the roads in Moreton to be safer, not more congested with A-double trucks. I want all our roads to be safer. I applaud the Black Spot Program for the intersections and roads in my electorate that have been upgraded but I'll continue to progress action on the remaining dangerous intersections.