Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has attended the opening ceremony for the new Moreton Bay Rail Link in north Brisbane, but shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has been quick to claim credit on behalf of the former Labor Government for the project.
Turnbull joined Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and other politicians and community leaders at the opening ceremony for the new line on Monday.
“This rail line will attract new business investment in the area, provide better connectivity between key activity centres and remove approximately 600 cars from the local road network for every full train,” the PM said.
The project, which was called the Moreton Bay Rail Link during development, but now is being called the Redcliffe Peninsula rail line, delivered 12.6 kilometres of dual track passenger rail line between Petrie and Kippa-Ring, along with six new stations.
“The Federal Government is currently investing more than $13 billion in Queensland infrastructure, as part of a $50 billion infrastructure investment program nationwide.”
Palaszczuk said the new line will be transformational for the region, especially for suburbs adjacent to it.
“This project is not just an investment in this region, it is an investment in Queensland’s economy,” the premier said. “The new rail line will deliver more than 650 train services a week between Kippa-Ring and Brisbane, with trains running every six to 12 minutes in morning and afternoon peaks, and every 30 minutes in off-peak periods and during weekends.
“Importantly, it better connects the local community to the wider SEQ network and brings the Brisbane CBD and other destinations closer.
“Realistically, someone could jump on a train here in Kippa Ring and use our public transport network to visit the beaches of Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast.
“Our investment in the Moreton Bay Rail Line was part of the Queensland Government’s infrastructure program which is worth $40 billion over four years.”
Albanese dismissed any notion of Turnbull being able to take credit for the project, saying Federal Labor’s “enduring commitment to public transport investment [was] underlined” with the line’s opening.
“Malcolm Turnbull and Liberal MPs will be on hand today to seek credit for the project they opposed,” the shadow infrastructure minister said.
“Today should be a particularly proud day for [former Federal Labor treasurer] Wayne Swan and [state member for Redcliffe] Yvette D’Ath who fought hard to turn this long awaited vision into a reality.
“The former Federal Labor Government joined with the Bligh Labor Government to fund the project in 2010 to reduce traffic congestion and lift productivity.
“At that time the Liberal Party opposed the project, with its candidate for Petrie, Dean Teasdale, telling ABC radio: ‘now is not the time’.
“Rather than rewriting history they should look ahead and restore Federal funding for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Link,” Albanese added. “Cross River Rail is urgently needed to provide a second railway crossing over the Brisbane River in the Brisbane CBD before the existing Merivale Bridge reaches full capacity within the next few years.
“It is time for Mr Turnbull to stop using public transport for photo opportunities and to actually invest in major public transport infrastructure.”