Transcript of Doorstop in Brisbane

Acting Queensland Premier, Steven Miles: Southeast Queensland’s mega infrastructure projects at the massive Cross River Rail has achieved another milestone.

As you can see here at the new Roma Street Station. Underground works have completed and they've reached ground level. This is an incredible milestone, this 20 meters work underground and a further 23 meters now will be completed above ground to build what will be the southeast Queensland’s major transport interchange intermodal interchange.

The 7520 cubic meters of concrete has already gone in here below us, 14,700 tonnes of steel.

The commuters will now be able to see the station emerging out of underground and as I say this will be the major transport hub for the city and the southeast Queensland network.

Also today, Transport Minister Mark Bailey is announcing that not only will more of the buses that interchange here be electric but that we also want to make them here in Queensland. He's calling on Queensland manufacturers to come forward and talk to us. The Palaszczuk government has already led the delivery of making trains here in Queensland not overseas. We're making batteries here in Queensland, not overseas, and now we will make our new electric buses here in Queensland, not overseas too, creating more jobs here for Queenslanders.

Of course, it's fantastic to also be able to show our Australian government Infrastructure Minister Catherine King, our biggest infrastructure project. It's fantastic to be able to show her just what we're achieving here in Queensland with our infrastructure projects.

Queensland Transport Minister, Mark Bailey: Where we're standing needs to be the ugliest building in Brisbane, the old transit centre. Everyone hated it and what will replace it is a magnificent new state of the art Cross River Rail Station. We're standing on the six floors that are below ground now. There'll be another couple of floors. It’ll have soaring spaces. I think people will be very impressed about what a fantastic station it will be. And of course, this interchange here, you’ll have both railway line style setting at Roma street so you'll be able to change seamlessly as well as the bus way. So, this will be one of the busiest interchanges in the city. So, we are making magnificent progress.

And it's a pleasure to have federal minister Catherine King here and a very strong advocate and supporter of Cross River Rail, Grace Grace, local member and fellow minister.

This project is going incredibly well and down below the scale of this project is absolutely epic. We are about two thirds done now and we are progressing very well.

It's been a fundamentally important project for the Olympics and the Paralympics, as well as the population growth that is coming to Queensland.

Just a couple of comments on the electric buses. What we want to see is not just Queensland-made trains, we want to see Queensland-made electric buses. And so, we're going out to market to engage with industry in terms of accelerating that process so that we can get zero emission public transport far and wide as quickly as we possibly can.

We've announced that every single new bus for 2025 in the southeast Queensland urban market will be zero emission, but we want to get as many on the on the road before that as we possibly can so that we can act on climate change and get the new technology involved and out there and operational. I announced recently 17 new electric buses for the Redlands area that adds to the electric buses that are already on the streets on the Gold Coast and Cairns, Sunshine Coast, there’s a few in Logan and there's one in Redlands already. So, we are acting on that. And of course, to have Queensland made trains, electric buses made in Queensland all coming through this area in the future is not just good for commuters. It's good for Queensland manufacturing workers because we know that Queensland manufacturing workers make the highest quality public transport carriages and buses in the world.

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King: Thanks very much.

What a privilege to be able to be here on this site today and can I thank very much the acting premier Steven miles and my good friend Mark Bailey and also Grace Grace for having me here in her electorate today.

As you know, had Minister Albanese continued to be the Infrastructure Minister for the last decade we would have been partnering in the investment in this Cross River Rail but unfortunately, that was not the case. So, it is a privilege to be here today. I know the Prime Minister has been through Cross River Rail. It's a project that is dear to his heart. So, to have the opportunity to actually see this milestone that you've now reached ground level here on where the atrium platform and entrance way into Roma street station is a real privilege.

This is the Queensland Government actually delivering on infrastructure. But as Minister Bailey said, this is also more than about building infrastructure, building connectivity, it's actually leveraging the opportunity of the jobs provided by investments in rail, and in our public transport networks to actually make more things here.

The Albanese Labor government commends the Queensland Government for really aligning a future made in Australia. We do want to see more electric buses, more trains, we want to see more signalling more componentry for public transport made here in this country. And I think the announcements that we're seeing today by the Queensland Government really reflect that investment. We put billions of dollars into public transport infrastructure. We want to leverage that investment to get long term manufacturing jobs. And I want to again commend the Queensland Government for doing that today and thanking them for providing me the opportunity to see what is the one of the country's biggest infrastructure projects here emerging out of the ground.

Queensland Minister for Education, Industrial Relations and Racing, Grace Grace: Thank you, Minister Catherine King, and great to be here with Steven Miles and Mark Bailey transport minister. As a member for McConnel. it's always fantastic to visit the site to see this amazing sustainable development. Now hopefully to be having electric buses and a sustainable way of delivering transport in the state will be fantastic. This milestone we've reached today is not only great for the people of McConnel, but it's great for Queensland as total and obviously we are well and truly on the road to a fantastic network for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It's great to be here to see one of the ugliest buildings in Brisbane, as Mark Bailey have said previously, to be knocked down and to see what's coming out of the ground and how beautiful the station will be. An amazing interchange for this network. I can't be prouder, not only a member of the Palaszczuk Government, but also as a local member delivering this infrastructure for the people of McConnell and Queensland.

Great to be here and I congratulate all the workers on site. They have done an amazing job and will continue to do an amazing job and we've got some of the best workers here in Brisbane, delivering this infrastructure and I congratulate every single one of them and wish you all a happy new year.

JOURNALIST: About the Gabba, when will the Federal Government commit to more funds, to ensure that the Gabba [inaudible]

KING: So, one of the reasons that I'm here today, the treasurer and I will be meeting with the acting premier to further our positive discussions that we've been having about the Commonwealth contributions to the Olympic Games. Those discussions are progressing and I would hope that we'll reach agreement soon and you’ll see some further announcements in relation to that but not in a position to do that today.

JOURNALIST: Flood proofing the Bruce Highway. [inaudible]

King: Well, recently I was actually travelling up in Rockhampton with the minister (Bailey) and saw some of the fantastic mitigation on the Bruce Highway there that previously Labor governments have invested in and again, incredibly important to do. We will work with the Queensland Government to do whatever we need to do a) to do the immediate relief that people need as part of floods that happened through those communities and our continued investments along the Bruce Highway. We of course want to build in future flood proofing right the way through our important freight networks. I think one of the real disappointments I think of the previous government and the way in which it approached infrastructure investment is it wasn't building resiliency into our freight network. There hasn't been any major study done of where those failure points are. We've seen quite recently through floods through Western Australia significant infrastructure problems in terms of getting goods to people right the way through Western Australia. We've seen that happen here before and that flood resiliency is certainly an absolute priority for me.

We are making significant investments in the Bruce Highway, but we'll continue to talk to the Queensland Government as well as the government, state government and territory governments across the country to build that in. We've seen problems both with our rail and our road network when it comes to actually getting goods and services to Australians and I want to try and do whatever we can to try and resolve those issues.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

KING: So, we haven't traditionally, as through the National Land Transport act, we don't fund bus networks. We are doing a trial with Western Australian government at the moment around electrification of their bus network and providing assistance there and again, we're always happy as we lead up, of course, into the budget cycle, to talk with state governments about what their priorities are. One of the biggest agendas we've got of course in transport is basically getting to net zero. Transport is a significant contributor to emissions and if we're as a country, we are to reach Net Zero target then transport has to play a role, whether that's rail whether it's flights and the need to have sustainable aviation fuel and a jet zero council here in this country, as well as ensuring that our public transport systems from buses are electrified, and we're very happy to work with state governments on that. But as I said, traditionally, state governments have funded the actual buses themselves, but we're certainly partnering with the Western Australian Government on actually looking at some of the charging centres and the way in which you might actually help set that as part of the Net Zero move as part of transport.


KING: Again, we're having really positive discussions with the Queensland Government. I think one of the things that you've seen that really marks the difference in my view about the way in which an Albanese Labor government works with states is we work in partnership, we have discussions, we work out where our points of differences are, we reach agreement, and then we work together to actually deliver that.

We've seen that from when the Prime Minister was infrastructure Minister previously, it's certainly the approach that I take, and it's certainly the approach that we're taking to the Olympics. This is a once in a generation opportunity to provide a lasting legacy of infrastructure here, not just through Brisbane, but through the entirety of Queensland and we want to make sure that we take that opportunity. We see that building the Olympics infrastructure is really about building the future of this great state, and it's great city and we want to be part of that. And we're certainly having very positive discussions.

When, I’m quite sure, the prime minister and Premier, when we’ve reached agreement, and when that's done you'll be the first to first to hear about it from both of them, but not today. Thank you

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

KING: Yeah, again, these are again ongoing negotiations that we have all the time with states and territories states will come forward to put their priorities to us as we head into budget cycles and we're very open to talking to the Queensland Government about that.

You know, we obviously when we were last in government had a very strong commitment to rail and to public transport. Cross River Rail was an essential part of that. I can't understand why the then Queensland government rejected that and decided that they weren't going to accept funding for that and then we had, it took a Labor government to come here in Queensland to actually deliver this.

Look around you can see what an amazing difference Labor governments make in delivering this sort of infrastructure. This is city shaping infrastructure being delivered by a Queensland Labor, state Labor government, and it's something we would have, had we continued in office, partnered with and we're certainly happy to keep talking about it. And I know my boss, the PM’s pretty keen on rail. You've seen him talk about it a lot, and I'm sure we're happy to talk to the Queensland Government. about future projects.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: Oh, look I covered this, at length and extensively in my recent press conference. I have nothing further to add on that.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: I've said this previously that, you know, every construction site across the nation, private and public have had some kind of impact on the record inflation left by the Morrison LNP Government. That's well known. So, you know, for smaller projects, of course, some of those impacts are very obvious. For a project, the scale of this project where we've got 1000s of contractors and subcontractor, it's not such an easy exercise. So, we are looking at that closely, monitoring that. I think the impacts on this project are much less than in other states where they had much longer lockdowns necessarily. So, we're doing that work. When that works complete, we're happy to share that. But this project has been well managed and has been making fantastic progress as you're about to see. The scenes underground are really something to see. And it is the foresight of this government to get this done, despite a lack of support from Canberra under the coalition.  we 100% funded the Cross River Rail project and thank God we did because it got cut by the LNP under Fiona Newman. They promised to cut it a second time when David Crisafulli was running for office in 2017. And its only Labor gets this transformation of public transport projects funded and constructed. And this project could have been done six years earlier if it hadn't been cut by Campbell Newman and David Crisafulli.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

MILES: It's fantastic to see the Neville Bonner bridge coming together linking the Southbank precinct with Queen’s Wharf Brisbane which of course is the other big city changing project currently underway. The final span has been lifted in, there’s more work obviously to be done before the bridge is complete.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

MILES:  It was always the intention that the bridge would open once Queen's Wharf reached a stage of completion. The landing point at Queen's Wharf is an active commercial component of the site. And so, it wouldn't be possible to have people landing there in what is currently a construction site. Once the project is able to open that stage then the bridge will be activated.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

MILES: Not at all. Minister D’Ath and I have worked together to find productive solutions that can address issues in Gladstone. Frankly, I think Peter Dutton has enough on his plate. He should stick to his own lane.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

MILES: Oh look, we continue to do master planning for not just the immediate Cross River Rail Roma Street site here but the wider priority development area. I think over time everyone would like to see better connections from here over to Suncorp Stadium so there's plenty of opportunities for further developments between here and other local precincts.

JOURNALIST: When does the government build a rail corridor to the northwest?

BAILEY: Tony referred to that earlier on. The fundamental thing about the rail system in Brisbane and southeast Queensland is you have to unblock the bottleneck in the middle of the system. At the moment, we've only got the Merivale bridge for the whole of the whole Southeast Queensland region, which you know, that's what Cross River Rail is all about. And so it doubles the capacity in the middle of the system, which is a big improvement not just on the Gold Coast-sunshine coast line, but it gives improvement to all the other lines, and you must complete that before you looking at further extensions.

Obviously, we'll be looking at the transport infrastructure needs that come out of the population growth. It's surging across the border here into Queensland, as well as for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There's no doubt that the Northwest transport corridor, this was simply a response to Tony yesterday. There is certainly a need for that to be preserved for rail corridor in the medium term. But you know, we have no plans to be funding or starting detailed design or anything like that, or planning specifically on that at this stage. What we need to do is look at where the population growth is, and what the future rail extensions will be beyond Cross River Rail. Our current commitments are already substantial in this space, not just Cross River Rail, but Kuraby-Beenleigh doubletrack duplication, light rail on the Gold Coast, and track duplication on the Sunshine Coast to start this year. We've also got mass transit public transport system brewing on the Sunshine Coast, there's a real need for it there.

So we've got multibillion dollar commitments to better rail both heavy and light across southeast Queensland but is there a need for further lines going in the future decades? Absolutely. Of course, there is. And we'll be considering that in due course.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: We're working with obviously with the Commonwealth about the transport infrastructure needs around the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s important we get the foundation right.  People will recall other Olympic games haven't gone so well. You know, if you look at Montreal, you look at Athens that comes to mind. You've got to get the foundations right before you start the task. We've got about nine and a half years to Olympic Games. We're making sure those foundations whether it's venues or transport infrastructure, are fully scrutinized and are thorough before we begin, that is the responsible way to go about the process and that's the way we'll continue it.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: Again, we'll be seeing an increase in public transport over time with the rail system. This will mean a much more direct trip in the heart of the city for both the south side and north siders. It’s a very indirect loop that gets you there at the moment. And the proof of that is when people particularly on the South side often get out of Southbank and South Brisbane and walk across the river because by the time the train sort of trundles away round to Roma Street and you’re still on the edge of the CBD. For the first time, the Albert Street Station is the first new Brisbane CBD station in more than a century. It will be very, very popular. So you've got to deal with rail first. But of course, you've got to expand bus services progressively as well. One of the issues we'll be looking at of course is one of the Olympic venues is out at Chandler and so they'll need to be an improvement in the bus system and operations to access that. But also those that's a growing area. They need better public transport as well. Don Brown, Kim Richards have been great advocates for improvements out there and that's been considered when we look at the Games infrastructure transport task.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: Look, my office has been making those contacts. We're very keen to meet with them. It falls primarily under Minister Ryan’s area but I'm very happy to attend given my interest in e-scooter regulation and rules. We want people to be safe. And so we will be prioritizing that meeting. We want to make sure that people understand how to be safe in terms of e- scooter charging and storage and those sorts of things. And I'm very, very keen to work with firies, they’re on the front line seeing what can happen and their advice would be very valuable.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: There's a meeting being established today. I was talking to my Chief of Staff first thing this morning to make sure we follow through and make sure that I happen. I don’t have a date and the time but it will be a high priority to get it in the diary since we soon as we can.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: Oh look, we've already got electric bus manufacturing plants already in Volgren at Eagle farm, Bustech on the Gold Coast. And I expect that those bus manufacturing facilities will expand. There's going to be a great need for electric buses and we want as many of them built here as possible. The workers already who are putting out their electric buses are already on the roads, you know, on the Gold Coast, in Cairns, and the Sunshine Coast. Doing a great job. And that's just the beginning. We will see electric buses will be the norm going forward and they're fantastic. Not just for the environment and for action on climate change but if you ride them, or if you live on a bus route, they're very quiet. They are excellent.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

BAILEY: Yeah, look, we're working with the operators and the manufacturers and we are open to industry feedback about how that would occur. You know, maybe that they want to build them themselves, that might be economies of scale might mean that we could purchase them and have some sort of arrangement. We are open minded about working with industry about the model that works for them. What we want is as many electric buses out there, made in Queensland as quickly as possible, and how we get there, there's a lot of different ways you can do that. The different bus operators and different bus manufacturers have their own ways of working but we are open minded about working with how they go about things.