The Courier-Mail

Pull out all stops to ex­pose the is­sues

- STEVEN WARDILL Queensland · Queensland Railways · Jackie Trad

IS THE Palaszczuk gov­ern­ment about to have a scan­dal of health pay­roll pro­por­tions?

The se­ries of leaked brief­ing notes and in­ter­nal doc­u­ments into Cross River Rail’s Boggo Road Sta­tion sure paint a pic­ture of ques­tion­able de­ci­sion mak­ing and in­tran­si­gence that will come at a huge cost to tax­pay­ers.

Ex­perts were ig­nored and de­ci­sions taken and no one seems able to ad­e­quately ex­plain why.

On pa­per, what the Gov­ern­ment is pro­ceed­ing with cer­tainly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Two of Cross River Rail’s sta­tions – a re­de­vel­oped Dut­ton Park and a new stop at Boggo Road – are barely more than a stones’ throw apart.

Dut­ton Park is on a curve and is dif­fi­cult to up­grade to meet dis­abil­ity stan­dards while Boggo Road leads to an en­gi­neer­ing night­mare.

The project’s de­liv­ery author­ity, tech­ni­cal ex­perts and bid­ders all came up with an elo­quent so­lu­tion that would have done away with these is­sues by build­ing a sin­gle sta­tion in be­tween those stops at the back of Princess Alexan­dria Hos­pi­tal on land al­ready owned by Queens­land Rail.

It would have given pa­tients and vis­i­tors di­rect ac­cess to the hos­pi­tal and de­liv­ered mul­ti­modal so­lu­tions with Bris­bane Metro. But it was re­jected and a multi-bil­lion dol­lar con­tract signed de­spite well-known flaws.

Why? Could it be some­thing as sim­ple as La­bor promis­ing re­peat­edly that Dut­ton Park sta­tion would re­main when it op­posed the LNP’s al­ter­na­tive tun­nel plan?

Did the then-re­spon­si­ble min­is­ter, Jackie Trad, not want to ex­plain why she was de­liv­er­ing only four sta­tions, not five?

With the cost im­pli­ca­tions of the de­ci­sion so mas­sive, this is­sue is now beg­ging for a proper in­de­pen­dent in­quiry.

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