Passenger Rail

Albo steps up support for “crucial” Cross River Rail

Federal shadow minister for transport and infrastructure Anthony Albanese has urged the Turnbull Government to commit to funding Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, calling it “an essential project to reduce congestion in this growing city”.

Queensland’s Labor Government in April established the Cross River Rail Authority, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has as recently as Monday labelled the project the state’s number one priority.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is yet to fund the project at the Federal level, with the project still under assessment from Infrastructure Australia, where it is listed as a High Priority Initiative.

Albanese joined fellow Federal Labor members Terri Butler and Graham Perrett to speak with media in the Queensland capital on Monday.

He recalled the former Labor Federal Government committing to fund the project in 2013, after Infrastructure Australia said it was ready to proceed.

In 2013 the former Labor Federal Government committed funding to Cross River Rail, after the independent Infrastructure Australia rated it ready to proceed.

“But the incoming Coalition Government cancelled that investment, along with all Commonwealth investment in public transport that was not already under construction,” Albanese said.

“In the 2016 election, Federal Labor committed to support the project but the Coalition has provided no funding. It’s time the Prime Minister took practical action to support public transport and reduce congestion in our cities.”

Butler, who holds the inner Brisbane seat of Griffith, said the project was “direly needed”.

“It’s a situation where, in fact, there is a great deal of pressure on our rail network, a great deal of pressure therefore as a consequence on our roads, and on our buses,” Butler said.

“It’s about time the Turnbull Government committed to funding Cross River Rail, in the way that we did before the Federal Election.

“We made a strong commitment to Cross River Rail, in the vicinity of $800 million was committed, but it’s time for the Turnbull Government to show up and make a commitment to funding this important infrastructure project.”

The proposed CRR is a 10.2 kilometre link from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, with 5.9 kilometres of tunnel to go under the Brisbane River and CBD. CRR would connect to both the northern and southern rail networks.

It would include five new station precincts.