Infrastructure for Brisbane

29 July 2019

I rise to speak on the motion by the member for Boothby, which I'm advised congratulates the government on their commitment to building infrastructure as part of the 2019 budget. While I was at the Sandgate swim club's diving trophy night on the night of the 2019 budget, I am surprised to hear that we are due to congratulate the government on their infrastructure investment because, as far as Lilley went, there were spinifex rolling across the desert with respect to new announcements and new funding for our part of the world.

I can tell you that, as the Labor candidate for Lilley at the time, one of my top priorities during the election was fighting for infrastructure upgrades on Brisbane's booming north side, where we have many working families moving in, young families trying to set up their lives and raise their kids, and see that the support and infrastructure that they need to do that is there or at least planned to be there. At the moment, neither of those things are the case from this third-term LNP government. The 2019 budget was a major disappointment on that front.

Let me articulate again now, in case it wasn't clear at the time, what northsiders are telling us about what they need from their federal government. They want to spend more time at home with their families and less time stuck in commuter traffic. I'm proud to say that federal Labor is well aware of this. We listened and we tried to act during the campaign. We supported a number of projects that would reduce traffic congestion on the north side. You can divide these up amongst public transport and road projects. With respect to public transport, we announced that we would fund two park and ride upgrades, firstly the one at Northgate, which was first promised by a government in 1993. These people have been waiting a very long time between drinks—of cordial, obviously—for their park and ride upgrade. I took the present Leader of the Opposition, the member for Grayndler, along to show him the issue at the Northgate park and ride. It is simply that there are something like 350 car parks—off the top of my head—but something like 750 commuters that come every day to use that park and ride, from as far as way as Redcliffe on the peninsula in the member for Petrie's electorate. We promised that we would fund $7 million towards a multistorey car park to alleviate this problem. Unfortunately, that commitment was not matched by the LNP government.

The second park and ride we committed to was Geebung park and ride. This is another booming, gentrified part of the world—they do very good coffee at Fox Coffee there, if I may put in a quick plug. We put $4 million into upgrading the park and ride at Geebung, though I must advise that there is no polo club to speak of. Something I will be working on as a priority, as the new member for Lilley, is getting a Geebung polo club up and running! However, despite there being much last-minute discussion around park and ride upgrades for other parts of the world, there is no such luck for the people of Lilley from this third-term LNP government. With respect to the vital infrastructure projects, particularly with respect to park and ride upgrades, let's see the plan. What's coming down the line?

As I was coming in, I heard the dulcet tones of the member of Ryan discussing the Cross River Rail project. I can understand why he would be sensitive on that issue, because it is something Brisbane City Council has failed to fund, budget after budget after budget, despite both state and federal Labor committing billions of dollars—I think off the top of my head something like $5.3 billion—to get it up and running. For people who don't understand Brisbane—I don't know why you wouldn't take more of an interest in the best place in the world—and don't understand infrastructure in Brisbane, let me say that Cross River Rail is vital. At the moment, we have one crossing for rail from north to south. Until we get a second, through developing and delivering Cross River Rail, it is a choke point, which means that we cannot put more services along the lines for commuters during peak times. At the moment services are straining under the load. Until we add a second crossing it isn't going to get better. It's a big project, it's an expensive project, but it's a vital project. That's why we believe in it. When we do it, someone who lives in Deagon, Sandgate or Shorncliffe will experience a train coming along every six minutes on the Shorncliffe line. That is revolutionary stuff. To be able to access a train every six minutes during peak commuter times on the Shorncliffe line would make such a big difference for the people who are commuting in and out of town. That is why we support it and why I continue to beseech the government to support us in coming on board with Cross River Rail.