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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3270

Public Transport


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:30): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Can the minister please outline to the House the government's investment in public transport and why it is a smarter and fairer investment that helps address urban congestion and makes our cities more productive, sustainable and liveable?


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government) (14:31): I thank the member for Moreton for his question and his ongoing support, particularly for the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane. This federal government has overhauled the way that the nation plans, finances and builds our infrastructure. We assess projects on the basis of Infrastructure Australia's advice, undertake cost-benefit analysis and work with state and territory governments to make sure that projects can be delivered. In terms of urban public transport, last night we announced the single biggest ever commitment to urban public transport by any federal government and it builds on the record funding where we have committed more to urban public transport since 2007 than all governments combined.

In Brisbane, the Cross River Rail project is an absolute priority. As requested by the Queensland government, we have made an allocation of $715 million, to be matched by the Queensland government, with further support from future availability payments. This will open up services from Brisbane's north and western suburbs as well as the Sunshine and Gold coasts, and the project will make sure that an extra 17,000 people can travel on Brisbane's rail system during the peak periods. Being surprised by some of the Queensland treasurer's comments, I asked my department and Infrastructure Australia for some of the correspondence. That is what we have got; that is the work that has been done; that is how you do proper infrastructure development and funding.

The SPEAKER: The minister will desist with the props!

Mr ALBANESE: That is how we have complied with the requests of the Queensland government. In Melbourne, the Melbourne Metro project will similarly untangle the inner core of the rail network and open it up for the future. After ongoing discussions with the Victorian government, and in accordance with their requests, the budget allocated $3 billion for the Melbourne Metro project. Minister Mulder, the transport minister, said on Sunday, and I quote: 'It is our No.1 transport priority.' It will make sure that an extra 20,000 people an hour can travel on the Melbourne rail network. You cannot do an airport link, you cannot do an Avalon rail link, you cannot do the Doncaster rail line, you cannot solve Melbourne's congestion problems without this link. Here is the correspondence between the government, the private sector, Infrastructure Australia and the Victorian government outlining their requests for funding. We have a plan to support jobs and growth, to support public transport and to support our road infrastructure. (Time expired)




Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:34): Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question. The minister has talked about tackling urban congestion. How is the government working with the private sector to help deliver crucial transport projects sooner rather than later?


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government) (14:34): I thank the member for his question. We have indeed worked with Infrastructure Australia in establishing a finance working group, chaired by Jim Murphy from Treasury and consisting of private sector representatives, to look at how, under the constraints that are there on fiscal positions of the federal and state governments, we could mobilise infrastructure spending now in order to get projects sooner rather than later. That is what we have done with both the Melbourne Metro and the Cross River Rail project: worked through with the private sector and the respective state governments to make sure that the funding takes into account that, whilst the construction time is short, the productivity benefits are long indeed. Hence the availability payment model, talked about by the private sector for a long time and delivered in last night's budget. Similarly, the negotiations we have had with the New South Wales government and Transurban regarding the F3 to M2 link—promised by the former government; nothing done. It has taken this government, $400 million from both levels of government with a contribution of construction being overseen by Transurban, to make sure that this missing link, which is of particular benefit to the Central Coast and the Hunter as well as to the freight network, is undertaken. This has been talked about for some time, and last night the federal government delivered. (Time expired)