Federal Election key to Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Project
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) applauds the State Government on its commitment to building Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Project.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said developing the business case and setting up a delivery authority to ensure it is built are essential milestones for this project seeing the light of day.
“CCIQ believes that the Cross River Rail Project is absolute top of the priority list for Queensland’s infrastructure,” he said.
“The project is critical to Brisbane’s continuing economic growth and will play a crucial role in addressing traffic congestion in the South East Queensland.
“The problem at present relates to capacity constraints in the existing transport system for trips to and from the Brisbane CBD and strong population growth in SEQ – with the rail system expected to reach capacity by the mid-2020s.
Infrastructure Australia has identified a macroeconomic cost of $9 billion by 2031 if delays to current inadequate transport networks are not addressed.
“The availability of a reliable, affordable and capable passenger transport network is pivotal to determining the vibrancy of our capital city and the strength of economic growth,” Mr Behrens said.
“An investment in our transport network represents an investment in the future prosperity of Brisbane.
“For business, what the practical impact of this $9 billion looks like is increased cost of doing business; decreased efficiency and productivity; reduced access to existing markets and expansion into new and emerging markets.
“It is essential that the Cross River Rail Project is built in order to drive ongoing business investment and expansion and drive above-average economic growth and prosperity.”
Mr Behrens said it was hoped funding for the project would be on the table as part of the Federal Election, which is looking likely to be July 2.
“However at the last Federal Election the Coalition did not support the Brisbane Cross River Rail Project citing it did not support contributing funding for urban rail. Conversely, the ALP committed $715 million for project in 2013.
“The forthcoming Federal Election will be one of only few opportunities for Queensland to secure a commitment to fund this vitally needed project.
“However, we only need to look at the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing to see projects that have experienced funding dilemmas can ultimately be built as a result of the pork-barrelling that occurs at elections.
“This project is a symbolic one for the State Government and is an opportunity for it to smash through the perception of inactivity on the infrastructure investment front.
“It is a shame that the business case for the project looks not to be finalised prior to the Federal Election. A leap of faith will be needed by election time, but Infrastructure Australia has already signed off on this project and that should be enough.
“Our advice to the State Government is build the business case for the project and make sure both the Coalition and the Federal ALP are on board.”