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Qld infrastructure deficit costing $4b a year, soon to be $6b

The federal Infrastructure Minister will tell a business gathering in Brisbane today the shocking annual cost of the state’s substandard infrastructure — and how rapidly it’s growing. Dan Knowles, Future SEQ editor,  Commutes to worsen if transport projects continue to lag Australia is being urged to spend $600 billion on infrastructure over the next 15 years to keep pace with the booming population.

Choked roads and rail lines are costing Brisbane $4 billion a year, the people tasked with unlocking Queensland’s potential will be told today, with the price of congestion to soar to $6 billion a year by 2030 if nothing is done. “Over the past decade, our freeways have slowed, trains have become fuller, and many people in our community are concerned that it will only get worse,” federal Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge will tell a business gathering in Brisbane today.

“Brisbane’s share of this avoidable cost of congestion is currently $4 billion per year. This cost is projected to increase to more than $6 billion per year by 2030. “Congestion, of course, is largely a function of a simple equation: rapid population growth and infrastructure not keeping pace.” The Pacific Motorway section of Queensland’s M1 is one of the infrastructure priorities earmarked. With 90 per cent of Queensland’s population growth last year hemmed into the southeast, Mr Tudge will tell the Infrastructure Association of Queensland’s “Productivity, Population and Potential” lunch the region desperately needs a City Deal.

The need for a City Deal – which sets infrastructure, economic development and liveability priorities and funding models – was the No.1 point in an action plan developed from The Courier-Mail’s Future SEQ campaign. Already in the plan’s statement of intent are Cross River Rail, which is fully funded by the State Government, Brisbane City Council’s Brisbane Metro and the Commonwealth’s $9.3 billion investment in the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, but more is needed. “On the population side of the equation, we are putting in place policies to ease the population pressures on our big capitals of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane,” Mr Tudge is expected to say.

“These cities have been growing very fast by historic and international standards and account for 75 per cent of Australia’s population growth in recent years. “Our population plan consists of reducing the migration rate (which constitutes 60 per cent of Australia’s population growth) and encouraging more new arrivals to our smaller cities and regions, which are crying out for more people.” “Congestion affects us all in one way or another.

For those who face traffic every day, it takes valuable time away that could be spent with family and friends, or at work. “To businesses reliant on getting across cities rapidly, it is an added cost.”

TUDGE’S INFRASTRUCTURE LIST:

  • Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail by 2025 – $9.3 billion
  • $25 billion committed to Queensland infrastructure since 2013
  • $1.8 billion for M1 Pacific Motorway
  • $10 billion for Bruce Highway improvements
  • $888 million towards upgrades of the Warrego Highway Corridor between Ipswich and Roma
  • $593 million committed across 30 Urban Congestion Fund projects including tackling pinchpoints like Gympie Arterial Road and funding commuter car parks at Beenleigh, Ferny Grove and Mango Hill Stations
  • $112 million towards Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A, involving the extension from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads
  • $390 million to deliver the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade. Others: State Government’s Cross River Rail Brisbane City Council’s Metro

Dan Knowles, Future SEQ editor, Courier Mail

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