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Monday, 26 March 2007
Page: 54

Mr HARDGRAVE (3:49 PM) —I move:

That the House:

(1)   acknowledges that South East Queensland has the highest growth in traffic congestion of any region in Australia;

(2)   also acknowledges that the Australian Government has allocated to Queensland authorities over $3 billion in funding under AusLink Round 1 and $18 billion through other road related programs since 1996;

(3)   expresses its concern for the lack of commitment by Queensland authorities in progressing the work financed by the Australian Government and the redirection of funds away from the authorised projects;

(4)   further expresses its concern at the unreliable project costing provided by the Queensland Government for infrastructure projects and the failure of the Queensland Government to follow the example of other State governments to value-add to the Commonwealth contribution to national highway projects with state contributions; and

(5)   notes the Australian Labor Party plan to only widen the existing Ipswich Motorway to six lanes and keep trucks on the Brisbane Urban Corridor while the Liberals want a solution to interstate transport needs, which will take trucks off the Brisbane Urban Corridor and provide ten lanes of traffic between Brisbane and Ipswich.

I move this motion today for a very plain and simple reason. My motivation is very clear: I want to highlight the lack of real progress on the important nation-building infrastructure which needs to be built to underpin the long-term prosperity of south-east Queensland’s economy in particular. I am concerned that, despite the record amounts of funding that have been handed to the Queensland government as the primary manager of these projects, no progress has been realised. I am hoping today that the Australian Labor Party in this place—the federal opposition—will resist the temptation to play a partisan game and back my ambition to see progress. There is absolutely no point in the alternative government of this country—and long may they remain the alternative—maintaining this cyclical game of attempting to blame another.

They know, as all Queenslanders know, that the job of planning and implementation when it comes to infrastructure is the job of the Queensland government. They are the manager of these projects. They maintain day-to-day control of the roads that are in question. They are the ones who have the opportunity to take the funds that are allocated and to prioritise their expenditure in the name of all Queenslanders. They should not have created this farcical situation where the first people that are paid and are always paid are the high-ranking bureaucrats in the Department of Main Roads; whether a road is built or not, they get paid.

We need to see an end to the circumstance where we are told, as we were in 1994 by the member for Ipswich, the then minister for main roads in the Queensland Goss-Rudd government, that there was a 20-year fix on the Ipswich Motorway in place. It did not even last 20 months—mainly, I suspect, because if you are a bureaucrat in the Department of Main Roads in Queensland, the last thing you want is for things to be fixed for the long term. The last thing you want is for something to be put in place that is going to sustain for many decades; you want a crisis every five to 10 years. Guess what: 20 months is all it lasted. All we have had since then is posturing and talk about widening the existing corridor along the Ipswich Motorway.

This is the farcical part. The member for Batman, who I understand will speak after me, has the opportunity to make it very clear once and for all that the federal opposition is opposed to the widening of the Ipswich Motorway starting at Rocklea, because if he is not—

Mr Martin Ferguson —You’ll be kidding.

Mr HARDGRAVE —‘You’ll be kidding,’ he said. Here we have, yet again, a return to the cyclical logic which will drive trucks forever along the Brisbane urban corridor. Here we have a repeat of the policy position they had at the last election, the election before that and the election before that—in fact, all the way back to 1990 and 1993—which consigned heavy B-double trucks past people’s letterboxes, through the electorate of Bonner, along the Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road, and in Moreton through Kessels Road, through Riawena and through Granard Road. The member for Batman and the federal opposition do not understand that the widening of the Ipswich Road corridor is not the only solution for the Brisbane-Ipswich corridor. They have failed to understand that there will be a need for 20 lanes of traffic between Brisbane and Ipswich over the decades ahead. What are they going to do: widen out everything by hundreds of metres along a track that was discovered by Alan Cunningham in the 1840s? The route of the Ipswich Motorway is the road the horses tripped over as they were heading out towards Warwick. It has not changed. I can tell a story in the House about my great-great-grandfather. When he was a farmer at Moggill in the 1860s, he had to row across the river to court my great great-grandmother, who was the Congregational Church minister’s daughter, at Goodna. Nothing has changed.

While the Australian Labor Party want to revisit the agro and the cyclical nonsense of partisan attacks, the Howard government have now put $2.3 billion towards creating a link between the Warrego and Cunningham highways and the Logan Motorway. We are determined to expand our toll-free trial on the Logan Motorway and the Gateway Motorway. There are 221,000 fewer trucks thundering along Kessels Road at night because I have been able to secure the funding for that, and I need the Labor Party’s support in this place to urge the Labor Party in Queensland to get real and get fair and put the people of Queensland and their long-term infrastructure needs first. That is what this motion is about today. It is going to be very interesting to see how the Labor party respond to the challenge that I have outlined for them today.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. BC Scott)—Is the motion seconded?

Mr Cameron Thompson —I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.