Today I joined Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, Member for Griffith Kevin Rudd, Member for Moreton Graham Perrett and ALP Candidate for Brisbane Fiona McNamara to outline the Gillard Government's commitment to making Brisbane's vital Cross River Rail project a reality.
This week's Budget delivered initial funding of $715 million for this transformational project – a key piece of infrastructure absolutely necessary to Brisbane future growth and transition to becoming a truly global city.
The population of South East Queensland is estimated to grow rapidly from 2.8million to 4.4 million residents by 2031 – an increase of more than 57 per cent. This means there is no more important infrastructure project for the region's future than the renewal of its urban passenger rail network.
This week we took the next step towards making this vital nation building project a reality. We have worked with the Queensland Government and have agreed to the funding and delivery arrangements it requested.
The urgent need for this project was highlighted by the Queensland Government in its funding submission:
"The rail system is becoming increasingly constrained by inner city track and platform capacity … and is predicted to reach capacity by 2016."
The Cross River Rail has been identified by Infrastructure Australia as a 'ready to proceed' project of national significance. The funding of $715 million towards its construction is to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Queensland Government. Federal funding of $20 million has previously been provided to assist in the planning.
To attract the balance of the required funding from the private sector, further long term Federal and State funding would be provided as 'availability payments'. There has already been commentary by private sector financing companies expressing interest in participating in this project because of these initiatives.
The project will requires the building of a 10 kilometre twin track tunnel between Yeerongpilly and Victoria Park, as well as the development of new underground stations at Woolloongabba, Boggo Road, Albert Street and Roma Street.
When complete this transformative project will almost double the capacity of the suburban rail network, allowing it to carry over 17,000 extra passengers in the morning peak hours.
The Gillard Government's approach to building more productive, sustainable and liveable cities involves investing in both their road and rail infrastructure. If not tackled in such a balanced way, traffic congestion is estimated to cost our economy around $20 billion a year by 2020.
Across South East Queensland the has almost completed the State's largest ever Federally-funded road project – Ipswich Motorway Upgrade – and is also funding construction of the new Moreton Bay Rail Link and Gold Coast Rapid Transit.
The Budget also includes:
- Brisbane Cross River Rail: construction of the core project of approximately 10 kilometres of new underground tunnel from Yeerongpilly Station through to Victoria Park including four new underground stations that will help increase capacity on the Brisbane Rail Network ($715.0 million)
- Gateway Upgrade North: upgrade of the Gateway North Between Nudgee Road and Barrett St northbound and Depot Road southbound including the widening from four to six lanes ($718.0 million-conditional on no new tolls being imposed)
- Ipswich Motorway: widen the Ipswich Motorway between Rocklea to Darra from two to three lanes in both directions between Oxley Road to Suscatand Street, in both eastbound and westbound directions ( $279.0 million)
- $4.1 billion Bruce Highway Package: A dedicated package of work to improve safety and productivity as well as reduce travel times and improve flood immunity ( $4.1 billion over ten years)
- Warrego Highway Upgrade: A package of works between Toowoomba and Miles which will improve safety, capacity and regeneration of various sections on the Warrego Highway ( $317.5 million)
Scott Emerson, LNP Queensland Transport Minister
"Obviously, as you know and we've talked about this before, where as a government, the LNP Government has been very strongly behind the Cross River Rail project. …in terms of what we want to do, cannot be done without Federal funding, substantial federal funding. …we cannot afford to do it by ourselves.
"So, I'm disappointed with these comments by Tony Abbott.
"…Cross River Rail is an important project. We want to see Federal money to it. We need substantial amounts of Federal money for it, or we cannot proceed. So I'll continue to lobby to fight for Cross River Rail for Queensland."
ABC612 – 5 APRIL 2013
Teresa Gambaro, LNP Member for Brisbane
"…the Federal Government, whether it is a Coalition government (or not), needs to consider all urban rail projects that are submitted for funding,'' Ms Gambaro said.
"I'll continue to lobby for Cross River Rail because it would be a major boost for the economy.''
COURIER MAIL – 8 APRIL 2013
Simon Orton, Queensland President, Engineers Australia
"The Brisbane Cross River Rail project is one of the most important infrastructure projects facing this state and it must proceed sooner rather than later.
"Delaying this project will affect the productive capacity of our economy and will do nothing to address the ongoing congestion on our road networks which has clear and major implications for the ongoing success of our economy."
MEDIA STATEMENT – 5 APRIL 2013