Senate debates

Wednesday, 19 September 2018



7:20 pm

Photo of Chris KetterChris Ketter (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise tonight to talk about the recent commitment by federal Labor to fund the duplication of the Linkfield Road overpass at Bald Hills. Currently the Linkfield Road overpass is a congestion choke point for motorists coming on and off the Gympie Road arterial in Brisbane, particularly where drivers travelling from the west turn north onto the highway where two lanes merge into one immediately before the turnoff. In recent years there has been significant residential development around Bald Hills, Carseldine and Bracken Ridge, populations that are or should be serviced by this particular road. Unfortunately, despite the growing residential population, the capacity of the overpass continues to be neglected by current Liberal representatives. It's now an infamous stretch for accidents and traffic congestion, and it has been identified by the state's peak road body, the RACQ, as a key priority for government action. That's why on 24 August Labor's shadow minister for infrastructure and transport, Mr Albanese, joined with federal Labor candidates for Petrie, Corinne Mulholland, and Dickson, Ali France, to announce that a Shorten Labor government will invest $60 million to duplicate this overpass. While local Liberal representatives Mr Howarth and Mr Dutton were busy plotting to overthrow former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Corinne Mulholland and Ali France were out there listening to the needs of the community and campaigning to get this commitment.

I want to mention that Corinne Mulholland has been here in Canberra this week meeting with key decision-makers and lobbying on behalf of residents in the Petrie electorate. Locals are telling her that they are fed up with Liberal cuts to health and education. They're fed up with Liberal inaction on transport infrastructure. They are particularly fed up with Liberal re-announcements of already-funded projects, a trick they tried again this year in the Turnbull-Morrison budget in May. Is it any wonder that those opposite have to resort to re-announcing projects? As we saw in media reports today, they are so torn up internally that any semblance of an agenda to take this country forward seems to have been lost.

But, while this chaotic, dysfunctional Liberal government tears itself apart through infighting, bullying, plotting and scheming, Labor is getting on with the job. While those opposite are cancelling COAG and shutting down parliament, Labor is focused on the needs of everyday Australians. We don't want people sitting in traffic for one second longer than they have to. We want workers to have more time at home with their families and friends, engaging in recreational activities and being more productive in the workforce. These are our Labor values. It is strong investment in transport infrastructure, both road and rail, that helps us to achieve these goals.

Our record on this side of the chamber speaks for itself, particularly in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. It was Labor who finally invested in the Redcliffe Peninsula railway line, a project that was talked about for over a century before Labor governments at the state and federal levels stumped up and delivered. Labor again, at both federal and state levels, has delivered billions of dollars in upgrades to the Bruce Highway and the Gateway Motorway. It is Labor who will deliver the Cross River Rail to clear the way for more frequent train services between the city and the northern suburbs, particularly across peak hours. In the electorate of Petrie, Corinne Mulholland has also secured a commitment to expand the availability of parking at the Mango Hill train station.

While those opposite like to turn up to the opening of Labor projects when they're in government, it is Labor who get the work done when we are in government. And while the Liberal-National government is happy to cancel COAG, denying the states and territories the chance to have crucial conversations about funding for key issues like health, education, drought assistance and transport infrastructure, while they're happy to skip out on this important forum, Labor want to work with the states and territories. We relish the chance to hear what they want and what they need.

In Queensland, federal Labor will work with the Palaszczuk government to deliver the transport infrastructure that our suburbs need, like Cross River Rail and the Linkfield Road overpass. Our commitment of $60 million for this upgrade will greatly improve the liveability of nearby suburbs, including Strathpine, Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Carseldine, Warner and Albany Creek. This duplication will improve business opportunities in the industrial hub of Brendale and slash local commuter travel times.

I'd like to conclude my brief contribution by quoting the words of the federal Labor candidate for Dickson, Ali France. She says it 'will be a game changer for our community'.