Thursday, 13 May 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Reynolds. Queensland is the most decentralised state in Australia and in 2020 had the highest internal migration of any state. Can the minister confirm that in Tuesday night's budget Queensland received the lowest rate of new infrastructure funding, per person, of any state?
Thank you very much, Senator Watt, for that question. What I can confirm is what the government has done in this budget. There is a $110 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects around the nation over the next 10 years, including in Queensland—for example, $400 million in funding for the Bruce Highway addition and many, many other projects. There's $400 million for the inland freight route from Mungindi to Charters Towers, for the upgrades there; $240 million for the Cairns western arterial road duplication; $160 million for Mooloolah River interchange upgrade, for packages 1 and 2; and an additional—
On relevance: we didn't ask the minister for a list of projects. We've all seen them. The question was specifically about whether Queensland received the lowest rate of new infrastructure funding, per person, of any state.
Ministers are given two minutes to answer the question. The minister has been going for 40 seconds. I've allowed you to remind the minister of the last part of the question. I note the minister was speaking about matters related to the state of Queensland, which was covered in both parts of your question, but I'm listening carefully. She has 80 seconds remaining to answer. Senator Reynolds.
I can confirm that this investment in Queensland is actually in addition to the $1.3 billion that was committed in last year's budget. That included projects such as the Coomera Connector, stage 1; the M1, Pacific Motorway, upgrade; the Centenary Bridge upgrade; the Currumbin Creek Road intersection upgrade; the Mount Lindesay Highway upgrade; the Beams Road open level crossing; Riverway Drive; and the Bruce Highway upgrade strategy. Queensland is an integral part of this government's $110 billion infrastructure program. Queensland, like all other states and territories, is being funded by billions of dollars, supporting thousands and thousands of jobs.
Can the minister confirm that, of the infrastructure funding the Morrison government did allocate to Queensland, only one per cent will actually start being spent before the next federal election?
In addition to the infrastructure programs, of course, we have the city deals—for example, the City Deal in Townsville—because this government is committed to making our cities more productive. We're investing $381.7 million in the Townsville City Deal. It includes the Haughton pipeline stage 2, the port of Townsville channel upgrades, and the city deal job creation. Far from Queensland being left behind, Queensland, across many government programs and infrastructure projects, is receiving billions of dollars from the federal government, which is creating thousands and thousands of jobs right across Queensland.
At the last election, the Morrison government committed to spending $287 million upgrading the Captain Cook Highway in Cairns, $195 million building a new water pipeline in Townsville and $100 million upgrading the Linkfield Road interchange in the electorate of Dickson, but construction on those projects has not even begun. With this record of promises not being delivered, why should any Queenslander believe the government's new promises in this year's budget?
Government senators interjecting—
There is a reason in this budget that we have made use-it-or-lose-it provisions—that is, the state governments regularly get allocated money from the federal government and do not spend it as we have agreed. The senator talks about water projects. In this budget the Australian government has committed to an additional $7.5 million towards the Rookwood Weir, half a million dollars towards the second stage of the Warwick recycled water and treatment upgrade, and there are many more. It is one thing for the federal government to allocate the money, but the state government has to deliver it, so I suggest that the question should be better directed towards the Queensland premier.