The Courier-Mail

10 Queens­land stalled in fast-track slow lane

- Business · Scott Morrison · New South Wales · Victoria · Australia · Queensland · Michael McCormack

JUST one of the 15 ma­jor projects to be fast-tracked un­der an eco­nomic res­cue pack­age lauded by Scott Mor­ri­son is in Queens­land, and it is not due to start con­struc­tion for two years.

De­spite this, more than half of the bil­lion-dol­lar in­fra­struc­ture projects are in the Prime Min­is­ter’s home state of NSW.

In­fra­struc­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land blasted the de­ci­sion as dis­ap­point­ing, say­ing it was clear the state, key to win­ning the last elec­tion, was “not a pri­or­ity”.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack de­fended the project choices, say­ing they were iden­ti­fied in con­sul­ta­tion with the states and that ad­di­tional cash had been granted for road safety up­grades in the state.

The one project ap­proved for fast-track­ing in Queens­land in the In­land Rail, which goes through Vic­to­ria and NSW as well.

But the route is yet to be fi­nalised through the state’s south, and is cur­rently un­der re­view and con­struc­tion is not ex­pected to start in the state un­til 2022.

The eight projects ap­proved for fast-track­ing in NSW in­clude high­way up­grades, a metro line, and Snowy 2.0.

In­fra­struc­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land boss Priscilla Radice said in­fra­struc­ture was key to stim­u­lat­ing the econ­omy and it was dis­ap­point­ing to see the state missed out.

“It would ap­pear Queens­land is not a pri­or­ity de­spite our abil­ity to open the econ­omy sooner than NSW or Vic­to­ria,” Ms Radice said.

“There are nu­mer­ous projects on the In­fra­struc­ture Pri­or­ity List that could be sup­ported in Queens­land.”

La­bor Se­na­tor Mur­ray Watt said the Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment’s fast-track an­nounce­ment had left Queens­land “in the slow lane”. “With any luck, Aus­tralia will be well and truly re­cov­er­ing from the pan­demic by the time the project starts,” he said. “Now when we need fed­eral in­vest­ment he’s show­er­ing money on his own home state of NSW.”

Mr McCor­mack said the Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment had com­mit­ted $324m in June to­wards smaller shovel-ready projects and road safety up­grades to “drive jobs and boost the econ­omy”.

He said the de­sign of the In­land Rail con­tin­ued to be pro­gressed with com­mu­nity in­put and in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ments.


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