House debates

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Moreton Electorate: Inland Rail

10:24 am

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

The Inland Rail project was a proposal to connect the port of Melbourne to the port of Brisbane through a 1,700-kilometre rail project. Under the coalition, look what's happened. The website says:

... better connecting producers to markets and creating new opportunities for businesses, industries and regional communities.

That sounds wonderful, except the plan has not been fully formed. As it currently stands, it's a railway to nowhere. Well, not really to nowhere. I know it doesn't go to the Melbourne port, but in Queensland it ends at Acacia Ridge, in my electorate, 36 kilometres from the port. It does not go to the port where Australian grown produce actually needs to go. So we're going to have 1.8-kilometre double-stacked trains, 24 a day, terminating at Acacia Ridge in my electorate, in Moreton. How will their loads get to the port? Double-stacked trains are too tall and too long to use the existing rail. There is a rail connection to the port. The load will need to be double-handled and transferred to trucks, and they're big trucks—A-double trucks—which will be using the roads through the southern suburbs of Brisbane to reach the port of Brisbane. An extra 3,000 of these A-double trucks a day will be driving through the suburbs of Moreton. Currently, there are four million truck movements per year around Acacia Ridge, but this will more than double, to 11 million truck movements a year by 2040. A quarter of these trains will be carrying coal from New South Wales through my streets. The suburbs of Moreton will be busier, noisier and more polluted.

The member for Bonner, last weekend in the Sunday Mail, announced loudly that all of the Queensland LNP members would be supporting getting trains from Acacia Ridge to the port of Brisbane via tunnels and above-ground trains going through the suburbs of Runcorn and Eight Mile Plains. As we saw on the news as well regarding tunnels in Liberal electorates, there would be trains above ground—one-mile long trains in my electorate. We know there will be eight kilometres of tunnels. They're the ones mentioned in the member for Bonner's 'tunnel vision'. They won't be big enough to take double-stacked trains if we use the borers from the Cross River Rail. The rail boring machines are not big enough. Let's look at the cost. There is no costing by the member for Bonner—not even an estimate of the cost for digging 16-kilometre tunnels. Remember, the costs are already going through the roof when it comes to Cross River Rail. So, we'll have 1.8-kilometre double-stacked trains going through my suburbs before they go underground through the supposed giant tunnels. The father of inland rail, Everald Compton, said:

I can say that I have never in 65 years seen a more incompetently managed and wasteful project than this one. It's a disgrace.