Transcript - Doorstop, Deception Bay, Queensland

STEVEN MILES, QLD DEPUTY PREMIER: Today we’re officially opening the brand new Deception Bay interchange on the Bruce Highway here linking Deception Bay with Burpengary. This new, larger, wider, safer six-lane overpass and interchange also includes active travel pathways, as you can see. It was jointly funded by the Queensland – the Palaszczuk Government and the Albanese Government, a $164 million commitment, 270 workers worked on this project. And, of course, the Moreton Bay region is booming. Tens of thousands of people are moving here. We have plans for a whole new city at Caboolture West and for all of those people we need to deliver the infrastructure that will help get them around, infrastructure like this brand new interchange as well as the billions of dollars being spent on the Bruce Highway. To build this interchange the workers laid more than 75,000 tonnes of asphalt. They installed 82 bridge beams and used 7,000 cubic metres of concrete. It’s a massive project, but it looks fantastic, and it’s exactly what the Deception Bay, Burpengary and Narangba in the Moreton Bay region needs and deserves. As I said, it was jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian governments. It’s fantastic to have Senator Anthony Chisholm here with us.

ANTHONY CHISHOLM, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Thanks, Steven, and good to partner with the State Government on such an important project. We know that the Bruce Highway is the beating heart of Queensland. So improvements to its accessibility, to its safety are really important for the state, but also in such a growing region that we have here where we’ve got tens of thousands of people who want to come and live and make a living for themselves. This project looks magnificent, but what it does is it provides safer transport. We see the pathway here for the school to use. We also know that it’s going to improve travel times so that families know they can get home safer and quicker to their families as well. So these are exactly the type of projects that the Federal Labor Government, the Albanese Government, wants to be part of. We’re pleased to partner with the State Government on this one, and I just wanted to thank BMD for their work, because they employ a lot of local people and they’ve got a good reputation here in Queensland. And they’ve done a magnificent job on this project as well. Thank you.

CHRIS WHITING, QLD STATE MP - BANCROFT: Thank you, my name is Chris Whiting, I’m the member for Bancroft and my electorate is just over on the Deception Bay side. This is such a great investment in our community. It’s a real show of confidence in the Moreton Bay area and our communities, especially Deception Bay and our areas around here. It is a vote of confidence, and we need that because we are such a growing area. There’s so many people moving to this area. And I know that this overpass coupled with the future works that we have in the pipeline, are hugely appreciated by the people in our area who rely on the highway to get to work and get home to their families. This is such a great day for the area. I want to thank the federal government, my colleagues in the State Government, also BMD for doing a great job. On behalf of our community, thank you and this is a great day.

SHANE KING, QLD STATE MP - KURWONGBAH: Shane King, State Member for Kurwongbah, which is over the other side of this fantastic bridge. I’ve just got to say that the residents in this area have been really screaming for this for a long time. It’s a great day here now that we’re able to deliver it, and I commend the Federal Government and our State Government for getting – working together to make this happen. It’s been a long time coming and it’s – yeah, just fantastic for commuters in the Kurwongbah and Bancroft electorates, a happy day for everyone. Thank you.

MILES: Any questions?

JOURNALIST: Just on this project first?

MILES: Sure.

JOURNALIST: Was there I guess – did it cost more than expected and was the timeline to complete it longer?

MILES: Do you know what the initial budget was? $164 million.

JOURNALIST: Okay. That was the price that it was expected to be years ago?

SPEAKER: At the close of the business case and after the detailed design was undertaken, it went to tender and that was the contract price - $163.3 million was the total project cost, or allocation for this project.

JOURNALIST: Deputy Premier, do you agree with the Premier's comments that no one can stop all this crime?

MILES: Well, I agree that no community anywhere in the world has entirely eliminated crime. So, no matter what you do, you can't entirely eliminate it. What you can do is look at evidence based programs, fund those programs, ensure that the police and the courts have the tools that they need to deal with crime, both prevent it before it occurs and then apprehend offenders when, inevitably, crime does occur. I think it's a real shame that we've seen in recent days the politicisation of what is an awful tragedy. Communities continue to grieve what is an awful tragedy, and we've seen David Crisafulli try to politicise that awful tragedy for his own political advantage. He was out there yesterday saying he could have prevented this awful tragedy and it's incumbent on him now to say how. If he is so sure he could have prevented this tragedy, he should say how. Now, obviously, it's difficult for us to comment on the specifics of this individual situation, but what we know is we are funding nearly $900 million worth of early intervention programs, programs that are evidence based, that are supported, that we know work. In fact, the Police Minister is in Cairns today releasing a study into one of those programs we funded, the JT Academy, and that evidence from a university study is demonstrating that it will work. Now, David Crisafulli spent two years saying breach of bail would fix everything. And so we put politics aside and now we have breach of bail. He is out there saying he could fix all of these problems, but his only answer is that he would make them better. The only policy I can see is mandatory detention. Now, is he seriously saying that he would prevent tragedies like this one by locking up every single offender? Youth detention capacity is roughly 400. Now, the number of young offenders every year is going down, but it remains about ten times that number. Is he suggesting that he would increase youth detention capacity by ten times to detain every single young person who is charged? And if that's his policy, then he should tell communities where those facilities will be, how he will fund them. Now, he also says that he would implement gold standard prevention programs. Well, we have funded every proven evidence-based prevention program presented to us. They are in place now. They are being expanded. Which ones? Which of those proven programs would he cut? Which does he say don't work? Where is his evidence that contradicts those studies? Is it cognitive behavioural therapy? Is it early intervention? Is it our own country programs? Is it the JT Academy? Is it the co-responder program also proven to work? If he's going to go out there and politicise an awful tragedy like this one, then in the very least, he should actually outline what his plans are. He can't just say it's not good enough to just say he would make it better.

JOURNALIST: It's being reported that the thirteen-year-old was a known serial car thief, where does the buck stop?

MILES: I can't comment on the specifics of this case. I hope you understand that. What I do know is that the $900 million of early intervention programs are working. They are reducing overall rates of offending. For anyone to be out there referring to a specific tragedy and saying that they could have prevented it is highly irresponsible. He should now outline how it is that he thinks he could have prevented it.

JOURNALIST: Can you understand the growing frustration in the community after incidents and tragedies like this?

MILES: Well, of course I can. And that's why we responded earlier in the year with a whole raft of new laws and expanded programs, and we are in the process of implementing all of those. We continue to take the advice of police, of the Justice Department, of the courts, of experts, and where they suggest we should make changes to the law. All those programs, we will do so. We've proven we will do so and we'll continue to do so and we'll continue to review those programs. But David Crisafulli spent two years saying breach of bail would fix everything. Now that we put politics aside and we have breach of bail, the only thing he is saying is lock up every single offender. And if that's his policy, he should outline where those youth detention facilities will be and how he will fund the billions of dollars of capital costs.

JOURNALIST: Speaking on youth detention facilities, where has the state government decided to construct a new one.

MILES: We’ve previously outlined that one will be in the Southeast and one will be in Cairns. We'll have more details about specific locations as the planning progresses.

JOURNALIST: Do you think the Children's Court process is transparent enough?

MILES: We continue to take the advice of police and of the justice system to set the laws and then, of course, the courts have a range of discretion about how they use those laws. That's a pretty fundamental standard of western systems of government and that's the system we have here in Queensland.

JOURNALIST: I guess, these tragedies occur and I guess the debate continues around youth crime. The government sometimes makes changes, sometimes reviews what's in place and we seem to go around in a spin cycle, like a roundabout with no exit. I guess at what stage do we have to look at a different approach? Or some kind of different way of approaching this?

MILES: Overall, the programs that we have implemented, the early intervention programs that we have implemented, are working and we continue to expand and increase funding to those that are working. It is simply not possible, though, to point to a single tragedy and say that a single intervention would have fixed it. That is the very irresponsible thing that David Crisafulli did yesterday.

JOURNALIST: Just on infrastructure, the Federal Government has a 90 day review happening to I think it's $120 billion worth of projects. Are there any projects that you are concerned will face the axe. Have you approached the Federal Government and said, please keep this on the books?

MILES: All of the infrastructure projects committed for Queensland are absolutely critical. At a time when people are moving from all of the other states to Queensland, we need the support of the National Government to deliver the homes and the infrastructure that those people will need. We're busy creating the jobs for them and that's proving very, very successful. So, I'm confident, I'm not concerned, I'm confident that every single project will stand up to the scrutiny of this review. And certainly if the Australian government identifies projects in other states that shouldn't proceed, well we have further projects that could really use those funds.

JOURNALIST: Question for Senator Chisholm. There's an article out today, I think it's on the ABC. On the former government changes to HECS, where arts degrees cost more, engineering degrees cost less. It's shown that price signalling isn't working. Does the Federal Government have plans to reverse that?

CHISHOLM: Yeah, we've certainly picked up the feedback about the impact that those changes have made and we want to make sure that higher education is accessible and affordable for everyone. That's why Minister Clare has announced the University's Accord process, which we're going through at the moment. One of the things that is looking at is affordability and accessibility. So, I'm confident that it is something that will be looked at as part of that review process.

JOURNALIST: How soon could we expect the results from that consultation?

CHISHOLM: The work of the Accord process is ongoing. It's being chaired by Professor O'Kane. They've already had one meeting of the reference group. There's another one due for a couple of weeks’ time. We're expecting that review to come down before the end of the year.

JOURNALIST: On the infrastructure review, should Queenslanders be concerned that we are on the chopping block here - projects on the chopping block?

CHISHOLM: No, important thing to note is that the Federal Government remain committed to the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline over the next 10 years. But what we want to see is that the public can have confidence that what’s been promised can actually be delivered. And what we saw under the previous federal government is they went around putting out press releases without actually talking to states or local government and their delivery partners with accurate costings of what these projects are going to take to build. So we want to ensure that we can achieve what we want to achieve. We want to work constructively with the states because we understand that nation-building, significant projects like this are really vital for growing regions.

JOURNALIST: So is it a matter of timing and maybe that those price tags are accurate?

CHISHOLM: Absolutely. That’s what we want to see. We want to ensure that we’re getting good value for money but we’re also delivering the important projects that are going to make a nationally significant contribution to the economy but also the ability for people to get home from work safely or get to school on time or get to work on time as well.

SPEAKER: Thanks everyone.