Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Blair Electorate: Ipswich Motorway
When will the Abbott-Turnbull government finally stop ignoring the people of South-East Queensland? Before the last election, the then opposition leader, the member for Warringah, made a commitment to fast-track the upgrade of the last six-kilometre stretch of the Ipswich Motorway. But then this government turned its back and broke its promise. Motorists and businesses have waited long enough for the Darra-to-Rocklea section of the Ipswich Motorway to be fixed and deserve a lot better than the hollow promises that were made just before the last election.
We know that in the last budget of the Labor government we put in $279 million to kick-start the Darra-to-Rocklea section from the troublesome Oxley roundabout to Suscatand Street. When we were in government, we designed, built and completed the Dinmore-to-Darra section of the Ipswich Motorway, at a cost of $2.8 billion. Labor have always understood the importance of this particular road to the people of South-East Queensland, particularly to the people of Ipswich and Somerset in my electorate. Tens of thousands of them use this section of the Ipswich Motorway, which is located in Brisbane, each and every day.
I am calling on the Prime Minister to change his mind, to kick-start the funding and to make sure the coalition fulfil the promise they made before the last election. I welcome the support of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland, who made it crystal clear in their 2015-16 federal advocacy document, A shared future: collaborative opportunities for South East Queensland, that stage 1, the $558 million commitment, is absolutely crucial for South-East Queensland. It will make sure there is ramp rationalisation and smarter motorway treatments for the entire section of that part of the Ipswich Motorway. It is particularly important to upgrade that part of the motorway to three lanes between Oxley Road and Suscatand Street. I know that planning needs to be done. That is why Labor made a commitment that we would start this process.
Recently I had a meeting with Minister Bailey and the Labor candidate for Oxley, Councillor Milton Dick, in Brisbane in the minister's office. He made it crystal clear to us that planning was necessary to get that final section started and underway. For stage 1, the $558 million commitment is absolutely crucial to make sure that that particular part of the motorway is underway. So we have made a commitment and I have made it crystal clear as well that my No. 1 priority is to get that part of the Ipswich Motorway done. We have made a commitment that we will, through the Infrastructure Australia process, undertake the planning and fund it, and we will do it. I call on the government to fulfil the promise they made before the last election.