Engineering, Passenger Rail

Cross River Rail saved as Labor declares Qld victory

Labor looks poised to secure the 47 seats it needs to form a majority government in Queensland, all but locking in the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project championed by the Palaszczuk Government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was confident at a Sunday press conference that her Labor Party would secure the 47 seats needed to rule as a majority government, after Queenslanders went to the polls on Saturday.

Referencing a prediction from prominent elections specialist Anthony Green – that Labor will win at least 47, and as many as 49 seats – the incumbent premier tentatively declared victory, but said she would hold off on making ministry appointments until the final vote was counted.

“I am confident of a Labor majority,” Palaszczuk said.

“I’ll be talking with my colleagues about how we can better talk to Queenslanders about the things that we do, and the things that matter to them.

“It is now my job to work with people who feel somehow separated from the normal hustle and bustle of politics,” she added, referencing the roughly 13.8% of Queenslanders who voted for One Nation as their first preference.

With three quarters of the votes counted, Labor had received 35.9% of the primary vote, down 1.6% from the 2015 election. The Liberal National Party, led by Tim Nicholls, saw a bigger swing, earning 33.5% of the primary vote, down 7.8%.

One Nation’s 13.8% was up 12.8%, while the Greens’ 9.7% primary vote was up 1.3%.

The election, among other things, became something of a referendum on Cross River Rail, a major rail tunnel and station project through the Brisbane CBD.

Palaszczuk, along with her treasurer Curtis Pitt and transport minister Jackie Trad, vowed to fully-fund the $5.4 billion project, despite the Turnbull Government’s refusal to commit funding due to an inferior review of the project’s business case from independent advisor Infrastructure Australia.

Nicholls, while not ruling out the project entirely, had said there were major questions that would have to be answered before an LNP government would support it.

The LNP’s pre-election transport policy document did not include Cross River Rail, but did support the Brisbane Metro plan, from Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk, also of the LNP.

Brisbane Metro is a proposed high capacity public transport line through the Brisbane CBD.