2GB Interview with Ray Hadley

Ray Hadley:  I've spoken previously to Alan Tudge the Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and population. Now, last time we spoke to Minister Tudge it was about Australia's population hitting 25 million. You remember we hit 25 million 33 years early and on the current trajectory, Australia will hit 38 million by 2050.

Now, the Minister is spending time specifically in Queensland over the next two days. I wanted to talk to him about Queensland, about what they want to do there. I noted in weekend publications, which I shared with my listeners yesterday on the public holiday, that property prices in Brisbane, particularly South Eastern Queensland, have held pretty solid. In fact, they're up fractionally. I also read Sydney has dropped by 6.1 per cent, which would make all those builders of those units across north-western, south-western, western Sydney I would imagine rather nervous.

But we'll focus on Queensland today because the minister is in Queensland. He's on the line.

Minister, good morning.

Alan Tudge: Good morning, Ray.

Ray Hadley: I guess you're up there taking a look at some of the areas that might need some federal attention.

Alan Tudge: Yeah that's right. So I'm largely in the area south of Brisbane right now in the Logan area, further south towards the Gold Coast and it's been a very rapidly growing area from a population perspective. And we're putting in a lot of money from an infrastructure point of view to address some of the congestion down here.

Ray Hadley: I'm a regular user of the M1, either travelling from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, vice versa. I have to say in the main it's not a bad road, but you get to those bottlenecks, you know, around Springwood I just mentioned and south of Brisbane around Logan where it's reduced in capacity quite dramatically. Is that the areas you're looking at specifically?

Alan Tudge:Yeah that's right. In fact, I've just been right there at the M1/M3 interchange and we're putting a couple of hundred million dollars there to basically widen the freeway because at the moment that interchange effectively has five lanes going into three and becomes a massive bottleneck when you're going southbound.

So, by 2020 they'll be fixed and you'll be able to more seamlessly go south then we'll be duplicating the road going north as well but you will get much better traffic going north-south from Brisbane all the way down to the Gold Coast.

Ray Hadley: I noticed a story today in the Courier Mail saying these Queensland cities are coping remarkably well in the face of rapid population growth, according to the Grattan Institute, rather than road network grinding to a halt commute levels have barely changed in five years to 2016, that's despite the rising population both north of Brisbane and south of Brisbane. And the other thing that's good news that was reported in the Courier Mail today as well is that house prices in that south-eastern quarter, the heavily populated part of Queensland, they're holding up as opposed to what's happening in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Alan Tudge: Yeah, the- certainly Melbourne and Sydney, the house prices have come off pretty dramatically, as you know particularly in Sydney.


Fortunately the house prices are holding up though, in South East Queensland from the looks of things.

Ray Hadley: What about rail? I mean, whenever I hear from my Queensland listeners, particularly the city rail network seems to not cope and that is sometimes maladministration by those in charge. What about that, constant dramas in that part of Queensland?

Alan Tudge: Yeah. We need to both invest in road and rail, Ray. [Audio glitch], Sydney, South East Queensland, no matter where you are. And often people sort of say it's not a one or the other but it's actually both that you need. You do need those mass transit systems.

There has been good investment across all of those three cities in rail, and more needs to be done. But the population is growing so quickly in those three big cities—in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane—that we do need to constantly invest in infrastructure.

We've got a-billion-dollar congestion busting fund to try to fix some of the localised pinch points and they're some of the other things which I'm looking at while I'm up here in Brisbane. But there's certainly a lot more work to do.

Ray Hadley: I notice that there's a bit of a blow up from both the Gold Coast Council and the Queensland Labor government, particularly the Transport Minister Mark Bailey. I was on the Gold Coast last week and you've got this light rail link, put in place for all intents and purposes for the Commonwealth Games and beyond, but now they want to have funding guaranteed for the Broadbeach to Burleigh Link further south. Now, they say it's been allocated but they say the Prime Minister may have gone cold on the idea. Can you enlighten us?

Alan Tudge: That's Minister Bailey playing a bit of politics there. Listen, we've got nothing to announce at this stage, when we do have something to announce, we will do so.

There was information which was leaked out to the media, that's all it was, it was just leaks. I think Minister Bailey—who I'm catching up with later today—just needs to take a chill pill, stop playing the politics, and let us get on with the job of trying to address some of these issues.

Ray Hadley: Okay. Do you deal- in that sense is that a project that you would take over in concert with the government or does the Gold Coast City Council play a role in all of this as well?

Alan Tudge: In all of these projects, we work very closely with the state government and in the case of Queensland, obviously with the local governments as well on these projects. We've already put a lot of money into that light rail project and there's been speculation in the media that we'll be funding stage three but it's just speculation.

And as I said, I'll be catching up with Minister Bailey to discuss a number of projects in South East Queensland this afternoon as to what further needs to be done up here.

Ray Hadley: Alright then. Thanks for your time, Alan, I appreciate it.

Alan Tudge: Thanks very much, Ray.

Ray Hadley: All the best. That's Alan Tudge, Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, in South Eastern Queensland this morning.