Doorstop interview

Interview

PFI017/2017

27 October 2017

Topic: Ipswich Motorway upgrade.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Okay, I'm very pleased to be here today and to be joined with Minister Paul Fletcher and also Minister Mark Bailey, Minister Leeanne Enoch and a range of other members for a very important announcement. It was just over four months ago that we were here talking about prospective plans, with the agreement that the State Government is working with the Federal Government.

Today I was very pleased to be joined with Minister Paul Fletcher as we turned the sod on the start of construction for the upgrade of the Ipswich Motorway. This has been a real bottleneck over here between Oxley and Rocklea, and finally this three-kilometre bottleneck will have a massive investment of $400 million, half of which is contributed by State and Federal Government.

We want to continue to see projects like these across Queensland being worked in a collaborative manner with the Federal Government. Four hundred and seventy jobs will be created during the life of this project, due to be completed by 2020. I really want to pay tribute to Minister Mark Bailey and Minister Paul Fletcher for working so closely together to get this project up and running.

This is like the little missing link of the Ipswich Motorway. I've travelled on this road many times. I know that even my local constituents raise this issue with me; people get stuck in traffic, we've got thousands of motorists, thousands of light vehicles and trucks utilising this motorway, and now the work will begin. I'll hand over to Paul to say a few words.

Paul Fletcher: Well, thank you very much, Premier, and it's very good to be here with you, with my parliamentary colleague Jane Prentice, Liberal-National Member for Ryan, and other parliamentary colleagues, for this very important event: the sod-turning on this stage one of the Ipswich Motorway widening, the Rocklea to Darra project and stage one of that.

Enormously important—85,000 vehicles a day use this, and this is going to help relieve congestion and help the traffic move efficiently, improve flood mitigation, which is very, very important.

So the Turnbull Government, the Turnbull Liberal-National Government is committing $200 million to this project. The Turnbull Liberal-National Government is backing Queensland by committing $200 million to this project. We're spending $14.1 billion on infrastructure in Queensland over the period 2013–14 to 2020–21, part of our $75 billion commitment on infrastructure over the next 10 years around Australia. The Turnbull Liberal-National Government, backing Queensland, and we're backing this project, $200 million, 50 per cent of the total project cost, from the Turnbull Liberal-National Government, and this is going to deliver benefits through the widening of this road, improve flood mitigation, and improve connectivity between Brisbane and Ipswich.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Hear hear. Mark?

Mark Bailey: Great to join the Premier, Minister Fletcher, Jane Prentice, our state members Peter Russo, Leeanne Enoch and Jen Howard. Look, this is a fantastic project for 85,000 motorists, including 12,000 heavy vehicles. They're a really important part of our economy; getting stuck in traffic here during the morning and peak hours, it's a real problem, and there's going to be massive economic benefits here for the south side and this region.

Importantly, this project does a range of things: it raises the deck across Oxley Creek by 2.5 metres, so greater flood immunity there; it'll be open most of the time, even during extreme events; we're seeing separated service roads, so if you don't need to use the motorway, you don't have to; and of course we're adding a cycleway as well for the local community to get around in a much safer manner.

So the six-laning of this section will be welcomed, I'm sure, by motorists, truckies, everyone on the south side. This wasn't done by the previous government, and we're working with the Commonwealth for this very, very good upgrade, and I'm very proud to be a part of it. I'd like to thank the Premier and Minister Fletcher for agreeing on a funding arrangement for this excellent project. Thank you.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Thanks. Any questions about this project?

Question: What amount of time can we expect to be shaved off the peak hour commute?

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Well, look, it just depends, but you know, it can be ranging from minutes to even longer. I know I've sat in traffic here for up to 20 minutes, sometimes even longer, especially if it's during peak hour, not so bad when it's not peak hour. But of course, at the end of the day this is about improving travel times for families, whether they're going to work, whether they're going to school, going to sporting events or just travelling generally. It's really that last missing link on the Ipswich Motorway, connecting of course Ipswich to Brisbane.

Anything else? Everyone's happy?

Question: Other issues, Premier?

Annastacia Palaszczuk: I thought we'd finished. Any other issues, Shane?

Question: I've only got the one question.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: And what would that question be, Shane?

Question: Are you calling an election on Sunday?

Annastacia Palaszczuk: I have an appointment on Sunday to see my nana.

Question: [Laughs].

Annastacia Palaszczuk: I'm serious. You know, catching up with your nana, it takes a while.

Question: So no election on Sunday?

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Look, as I said, it'd have to take something pretty extraordinary for me to call an election. Of course, I'm always open to listening to the public. At this stage, it's only the media that has increased or- you know, asking questions about it. But of course, I'll be listening to Queenslanders, and like I said it would have to take something extraordinary.

Question: Premier, I've heard that some Labor staffers are working seven days a week at the moment. Is it just really busy there?

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Are they? Who are they?

Question: I wouldn't want to name them.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Who are they? [Laughs].

Question: Premier, the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre, have you been briefed there's been more stories of self-harm there, I believe?

Annastacia Palaszczuk: No, I haven't as yet, but happy to get a briefing from my Attorney-General about any issues up there.

Question: Premier, can we get any update on [indistinct].

Annastacia Palaszczuk: Yes, there has actually. I can give an update. Of course, I've given the retailers until 5 o'clock this afternoon. I can advise everyone that from this morning we have 11 retailers that have signed up, which is about 86 per cent of the market. So hopefully we'll get some more in this afternoon, but that is very encouraging signs. Once again, it's about passing on savings to families. That's what I want and that's what I want the retailers to sign up to.

Question: Minister Fletcher, could I ask you a question about Cross River Rail? Has the Turnbull Government decided to commit any money to that yet?

Paul Fletcher: Well, the position in relation to Cross River Rail is that a business case was put forward by the Queensland Government. That was considered by Infrastructure Australia, which is our independent advisory body in relation to infrastructure matters, and it's our policy that any proposal for a Commonwealth investment of more than $100 million must be assessed by Infrastructure Australia. Now, the recommendation from Infrastructure Australia was that at this stage it didn't make sense to proceed with the project because, amongst other things, some of the other things the Queensland Government is doing, such as a new signalling system, will increase capacity. So their recommendation was, as I say, not to proceed at this stage. Infrastructure Australia has invited the Queensland Government to come back with a modified business case should it wish to do so, which might for example take greater account of the urban benefits, and if that happens then certainly Infrastructure Australia will consider it and make its recommendation to the Commonwealth Government.

Question: Do you think it's good use of taxpayers' money?

Paul Fletcher: Well, we are guided by Infrastructure Australia, which is an independent advisory body of experts on infrastructure. They've carefully assessed the business case and we've relied upon their advice.

Annastacia Palaszczuk: I might just respond to that if I may. Cross River Rail is needed. I'm sick of the politics being played with this, with all due respect Minister, so Queensland is going it alone. We're not waiting for the Turnbull Government to commit the funds, we've committed it in our budget. We're getting on with the business of building Cross River Rail because it is needed for South East Queensland. Thanks.

- Ends -