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War over Cross River Rail ongoing

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The future of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail remains uncertain as the Rudd and Queensland Governments continue to battle over the project’s funding breakdown. </span> <p><em>Rail Express </em>can reveal that the governments were on the verge of signing a deal for the rail project in June this year but the Queensland Government backed out of the agreement and has been arguing with the Commonwealth over its share of funding ever since.</p><p>In correspondence obtained by <em>Rail Express </em>regarding the terms for the Cross River Rail project, Queensland minister for transport Scott Emerson requested on April 30 that the Federal Government agree to the project being delivered as an availability payment Public Private Partnership where both governments would fund $715m as well as 50:50 funding deal for the project’s availability payments.</p><p>The Federal Government would use its AAA rating to guarantee the private debt and the Queensland Government would fund all rail operating expenses.</p><p>While deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese agreed to the terms on May 8, Emerson balked at the Federal Government’s GST calculations which he claimed would see Queensland fund 75% of the project as a 50% GST formula would apply to half of the Commonwealth’s contribution.</p><p>Albanese’s response was to point out that the GST relativity calculations at the 50% rate are similar to those applied to other transport infrastructure projects, particularly roads.</p><p>The latest development in what has become an ongoing saga between the two governments has seen Emerson request that his federal counterpart redirect the $100m already earmarked for Cross River Rail to other “priority projects in Queensland.”</p><p>“By reducing GST payments Mr Rudd wants Queenslanders to pay $1bn more for this project,” Emerson said yesterday.</p><p>A spokesperson for Albanese told <em>Rail Express </em>that the government has given the state “everything it’s asked for” and simply wants the Newman government to “put into practice the agreement they have already put in writing.”</p><p>“The time for politics is over,” Albanese said, “It is time to put the long term infrastructure needs of South East Queensland first.”</p><p>Cross River Rail is the only rail project in the country that’s been granted as ‘ready to proceed’ by Infrastructure Australia – meaning federal funding is pretty much a given considering all other projects in this category have so far been funded.</p><p>The project includes two tunnels from from Yeerongpilly in Brisbane’s south to Victoria Park in the north to be constructed under the CBD and Brisbane River.</p><p>The project will also connect the existing northern and southern rail network along with the construction of four new underground stations.<br /><br /><br />&nbsp<br />&nbsp</p>