House debates

Monday, 10 September 2018

Questions without Notice


3:01 pm

Photo of Chris CrewtherChris Crewther (Dunkley, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population. Will the minister update the House on how the government is investing in congestion-busting infrastructure, including in my electorate of Dunkley? Is the minister aware of any different approaches to building the roads and infrastructure that Australians rely on?

Photo of Alan TudgeAlan Tudge (Aston, Liberal Party, Minister for Cities) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Dunkley for his question. The Prime Minister and I had a great visit to his electorate just last week to discuss some local congestion-busting projects as well as the Baxter line, which I'll come to in a second. This government has $75 billion worth of congestion-busting initiatives going on right now across the nation. That consists of hundreds of small-scale, little projects at a localised level—things like the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road in your electorate, Mr Speaker, which you'd be familiar with—but also major infrastructure projects in every city in every state across the nation. That consists of the Bruce Highway; the Monash Freeway and the Tullamarine upgrade in Victoria; the Midland Highway in Tasmania; the North-South Corridor in Adelaide, the METRONET in Perth; and the Western Sydney Airport—over $5 billion put into that. All of these major infrastructure projects are designed to bust congestion.

I'm asked about projects in the member for Dunkley's electorate. He has been an outstanding advocate for the upgrade of what is known as the Frankston to Baxter line. That project will duplicate the line, upgrade it and also electrify it, effectively putting it onto the Metro rail. That will mean—once they've analysed the business case—an extra station at Frankston East, which I note the member for Dunkley has strongly supported, and it will link up to the Monash University campus down there as well as the Frankston Hospital. That will take cars off the road. It will ease up the car parking issues in those particular locations. And local people will be able to jump on the train and get to those destinations. Indeed Monash University believes that this will increase enrolments at the peninsula campus by 20 per cent, simply by having that rail line electrified and having a train stop there.

I'm asked about alternatives, and I'm very pleased that the state opposition has agreed to match our $225 million commitment. What we haven't seen yet, though, is the state Labor government also commit to seeing this done. We have seen the federal opposition commitment to the project, but guess what? There's not a dollar attached to it. It's a classic Labor opposition here—commits to something, but doesn't put a dollar to it. If you want the Baxter rail done, you have to support the coalition federally and at the state level in Victoria.