Just a day after the Queensland Government said it would fully fund Brisbane’s $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, the state’s premier, treasurer, and transport minister have announced the approval for work to begin.
Having grown sick and tired of asking the Commonwealth for funding, Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt announced in Tuesday’s Budget that the state would fully fund Cross River Rail – a new 10.2-kilometre rail line between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills, including a 6-kilometre tunnel under the Brisbane River and CBD.
This announcement was made despite the fact that – as the Turnbull Government points out when it denies funding – Infrastructure Australia is yet to grant project status to the current iteration of the Cross River Rail plan.
Cross River Rail is being looked at by Infrastructure Australia, but until it is listed as a priority project by the body, the PM has said, there is no chance of Federal funding.
Nonetheless, not a full 24 hours after Pitt’s Budget announcement, he was again joined by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and transport minister Jackie Trad on Wednesday morning, to announce the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority had approved the demolition of the GoPrint site at Woolloongabba, to make way for project construction to begin.
“We will no longer wait for the do-nothing Turnbull Government,” Pitt said, repeating a phrase he used on Budget day. “This project will deliver strong economic benefits for Queenslanders providing value for money.”
Palaszczuk said the GoPrint site, a former rail and tram depot, would become the new Woolloongabba Station, one of four new underground stations planned along the Cross River Rail route.
“The area will also be the primary staging site for the tunnel boring machines to dig the twin tunnels towards the city as well as south towards the new Boggo Road Station,” the premier added.
“People will soon see fences and signs at the site proudly proclaiming this is the start of Cross River Rail. I’m proud to be delivering this critical project for Queensland – the jobs start now.”
Trad said early site works at Woolloongabba were scheduled to start in September.
“This is the start of the something big,” the transport minister said.
“Cross River Rail will transform South East Queensland, taking 18,500 car trips off our major arterial roads every day. It adds a second inner city river rail crossing and is the key to connecting road, rail and bus networks to create a fully integrated transport network. It will get Queenslanders home faster, create thousands of jobs and it is critical for the growth of our region.”