Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Questions without Notice
Brisbane Electorate: Infrastructure
My constituency question is to the Acting Prime Minister and the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Thousands of my constituents in the electorate of Brisbane spend their mornings stuck in traffic along Kingsford Smith Drive. They are waiting long periods of time to move a very short distance. Could the minister please outline how the Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade, partly funded by this government, will benefit the locals in my electorate of Brisbane, and are there any obstacles standing in the way of this vital piece of infrastructure?
I thank the honourable member for her question. I refer again to the statement I made earlier today in relation to the government's $50 billion infrastructure program. Amongst its broad range of measures there are $13 billion worth of projects in Queensland, including some very substantial projects like the Gateway Upgrade North, which is being funded by this government and is now under construction. The previous government had said they would build this project but only if it was tolled—and they knew it was not possible for it to be tolled. So, in practice, that was one of the opposition's empty promises in relation to infrastructure construction.
I appreciate the issues that the honourable member has raised. Kingsford Smith Drive is a very attractive entrance to Brisbane but in peak hours in particular it is choked with traffic. So Brisbane City Council's initiative to spend about $600 million on upgrading Kingsford Smith Drive is commendable. When Labor was elected to office in Victoria they immediately moved to cancel the East West link project—and now we have complaints that they are not getting their share because they cancelled the most important project! Even though the contracts had been signed, Labor ripped them up and threw them away. You would think that Labor would have learnt from that lesson, with roadworks and construction in Victoria stalled as a result of that precipitous action. Lo and behold, Labor's Lord Mayoral candidate for Brisbane is proposing to rip up the contract for the Kingsford Smith upgrade if he is elected. They would rip up a contract signed with Lend Lease to build this project.
In true Labor style, following the lead of Premier Andrews in Victoria, they will rip up the contract and the project will not be built. In Victoria hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation had to be paid to those whose work was taken away from them. How much compensation will the ratepayers of Brisbane have to pay because the Labor Party intends to rip up this contract? Fortunately, Labor is not likely to win the council election in Brisbane—but nobody thought they were going to win government in Victoria either. The reality is that this is a vital project for Queensland, a vital project for Brisbane, and it cannot afford to have a Labor government that is going to tear up the contract.
I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper. After 54 questions in two days, I think that is a pretty good effort!