Wednesday, 3 April 2019
This is another budget without anything for traffic congestion in my electorate of Griffith on the south side of Brisbane. You would have thought that this would be the budget where the coalition finally gets its act together on busting traffic congestion in the inner south. You might have thought they would finally be funding Cross River Rail, a project that has been an incredibly high priority nationally since 2012—but there is no money in this budget for Cross River Rail.
We need funding for Cross River Rail. Labor has committed $2.24 billion to Cross River Rail—a project that will increase the frequency of trains, that will get more cars off the road, that will allow more people to get public transport into the CBD instead of having to drive. Where is the money for Cross River Rail? I'm sick and tired of having to do press conferences and speeches calling on the Commonwealth to deliver for Cross River Rail. It turns out that the only way to get federal funding for Cross River Rail is to elect a Shorten Labor government—in about six weeks time—and that's what I'll be fighting for. I'll be fighting every day until the election to get federal funding in relation to Cross River Rail, because it's congestion-busting infrastructure that we need for the inner south. We need to get cars off the road into the future. If we don't do this sort of transformative project, the estimated economic costs of traffic congestion in the inner south are expected to go up almost fivefold by 2031.
Do you know what else isn't in the budget, interestingly enough? There is no funding for the level-crossing removal at Cavendish Road, Coorparoo. This is a major traffic snarl for the south side. Removing this level crossing wouldn't just help my electors; it would help electors in Bowman, Bonner and other southside areas, because it is such a major traffic snarl. You don't have to take my word for it—the LNP council knows it should be a priority. They put it into their city plan back in 2014. Of course, they didn't give any money for it. They're not funding the removal of the level crossing!
When is the LNP going to realise that this level crossing must be removed? It was a 2016 priority for the South East Queensland Council of Mayors; it is a priority again in the 2019 people mass movement study that the council released recently. I call on the Commonwealth to make a federal contribution to getting rid of this level crossing, to get the project moving. The south side has waited long enough. We need some projects that will actually bust congestion. We don't want to be ignored by the coalition. We actually want to see federal funding for congestion-busting infrastructure.
As I said, traffic congestion and transport will be a key issue at this federal election. It's incredibly important that we continue to push for congestion-busting infrastructure for the inner south. I will continue working with my colleagues, including Matthew Campbell, the Labor candidate for Coorparoo Ward. We've got a petition going about the Coorparoo Square development, which has been a terrible failure by the LNP council to deal with traffic. We will continue fighting for congestion-busting infrastructure in the inner south.