M1 Motorway Funding

May 21, 2018

It's nice to see that this month the Queensland Liberal Party and National Party have finally discovered congestion on the M1. The Liberal Party and National Party have been in government since September 2013. Well done, Rip Van Winkle! Well done. I hope you enjoyed your nice five-year nap. I know you needed to have a shave when you did wake up, but I do acknowledge that you are putting some money into this vital piece of infrastructure after years of ignoring the needs of Queenslanders, years of ignoring critical Queensland infrastructure and years of ignoring the desperate need for upgrades to the M1. The member for Forde actually started a petition to petition himself—that's what I loved! I loved that: a petition where he's saying, 'You should talk to the member for Forde.' It was a petition organised by the member for Forde to petition himself. That's great! It's great to see the member for Forde finally pipe up with this motion.

The Liberal Party and National Party have been dragged kicking and screaming into funding the M1 upgrade. It's great to see the member for Grayndler in here for this motion. I look forward to his comments on the member for Forde's motion. It's great to see the Liberal Party and National Party now pipe up after five years and give us a lecture on infrastructure spending. What a joke! There has been an out-of-touch government over the last five years and suddenly, in this budget and in the lead-up to an election, they announce a little bit. This money should have been invested in the M1 upgrade and it should be almost on the way to a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Instead, we've got an out-of-touch government that has disappointed Queenslanders and put a handbrake on productivity.

We have seen their record on full display: announcing and then reannouncing projects in Dickson and Longman on the Bruce Highway. You can keep announcing projects over and over again, but the people of Queensland are wising up. They are onto you. When the Liberal Party and National Party announce infrastructure spending, Queenslanders know now to look for the smoke and to look for the mirrors.

What about the Cross River Rail in that budget? What about the Cross River Rail? The member for Forde, when he talked about congestion in his speech, seemed to forget Cross River Rail, something that Infrastructure Australia said was the No. 1 priority. The Treasurer forgot it and the Prime Minister forgot it in their budget. The Cross River Rail would actually almost be complete by now if the funding wasn't slashed in the 2014 budget. I know the member for Grayndler would remember that the project was signed off by the former Campbell Newman government's transport minister, Scott Emerson. I remember you had the letter from Scott Emerson before the press conference, but then he put the kibosh on it. It's all about priorities.

When it comes to funding critical infrastructure, we have seen Queensland done over. However, the government has still got that commitment to giving $80 billion to big business, multinationals and big banks—but not for Queensland infrastructure. Let me restate our policy from the last election with regards to the M1. Labor will spend $1 billion making sure that we have an eight-lane freeway between my electorate of Moreton and Eight Mile Plains through to Daisy Hill. We'll widen it to a six-lane freeway between Varsity Lakes and Tugun. Labor will do everything we can to take the politics out of infrastructure, and that's why we're still inviting the Turnbull government to match what we're saying on the Cross River Rail.

Unfortunately, there's a slight problem with the federal government's $1 billion commitment—more than 80 per cent of the funding committed by the coalition won't flow until after the 2022-23 budget. The Palaszczuk Labor government is pulling money forward to ensure this vital work starts immediately. Just last weekend, the Queensland Labor government announced an $897 million commitment to the M1—part of a $45 billion statewide infrastructure plan that will create over 38,000 Queensland jobs annually. That's someone that understands Queensland. We have to keep investing to make sure that southsiders can get home faster and spend more time doing the things they enjoy, instead of being stuck in traffic, pumping particulate matter out into the atmosphere.

In supporting the M1 upgrade but ignoring the Cross River Rail project, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer are only doing half the job. Obviously, when completed—as it eventually will be under Labor—the Cross River Rail will remove current bottlenecks by doubling the capacity along the Brisbane River, allowing more trains to run more often along every major train line. It's also why we need to fund the Coopers Plain rail crossing. That's why I'm asking the local government—Lord Mayor Graham Quirk—the state government and the federal government, to fund a third, a third, a third. That's my suggested solution. What could be fairer in terms of getting things sorted? This is not arguing about the politics of it, just being fair. If there are more trains going down to the Gold Coast, the bottleneck at Coopers Plains, which has been inspected by the member for Grayndler, will be a lot worse.