16
Apr

Labor is off the rails

Queenslanders may end up being taxed twice to pay for the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.

National Labor leader Bill Shorten yesterday pledged to fund around half of the project - if he wins the next Federal election - resulting in Queenslanders likely to be forced to fund the Cross River Rail through both Federal and state tax grabs.

State KAP leader and member for Traeger Robbie Katter said the $5.4 billion project was incredibly expensive and an example of ‘convenience infrastructure’ which would do little to advance Queensland.

“Federal Labor will send the country broke by committing to fund ‘convenience infrastructure’ instead of industry building infrastructure,’’ he said.

“If the State Labor government was smart they would realise investing in income-producing infrastructure, such as a Galilee Basin rail line would actually make money for Queenslanders.

“We also have the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line collapsing and being left to wrack and ruin as it is not receiving a single cent of State government subsidy.

“Intelligent investment in the Galilee Basin, as a government-owned and shared infrastructure, would provide enough return to actually pay for the entire Cross River Rail project in a just a few years – and save Queenslanders billions.

“The current pricing for the Cross River Rail is about one billion dollars per kilometre of road for the Cross River Rail, just so people can get to work 10 minutes earlier. That’s not much bang for your buck, it also seems incredibly city-centric and self-indulgent to me.

“Our regions are crying out for significant state investment which would help create jobs and wealth and set us up to build on our future.

“Unfortunately Federal Labor don’t seem to understand the need for significant investment in our industry and resource-rich areas.’’

Mr Katter questioned why State and Federal Labor were willing to work together on the Cross River Rail project but refused to do the same with the creation of a Galilee Basin rail line – which would provide a much needed boost in confidence and investment for coal miners in North Queensland.

“If Federal Labor win the next election and if they stand by their commitment to share the funding cost of the Cross River Rail project, that would mean the Queensland Government will have a couple of extra billion dollars left over in their budget,’’ Mr Katter said.

“If that turns out to be the case I will fighting to ensure regional Queensland gets a seat at the table when it comes to distributing those extra billions.’’

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