Australia Trad contradicted on rail project claims

14:23  19 may  2017
14:23  19 may  2017 Source:   MSN

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The Queensland government has suggested the federal body charged with assessing the merits of Brisbane's proposed $5.2 billion Cross River Rail tunnel has become politicised, after it contradicted claims it had no concerns about the project.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says Infrastructure Australia had raised no issues with the project's business plan when her department met with them on Thursday, despite Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's claims more work was needed.

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"They (IA) acknowledged all of the excellent work that had been done to date, they acknowledged that all the information had been requested of my agency and the Queensland government, had been supplied," Ms Trad told ABC Radio.

"Now, If the Prime Minister has additional information that he wants in order to run a political campaign, that's a different story."

But Infrastructure Australia on Friday said it had raised several ongoing concerns about the proposed rail tunnel with the state government.

"IA has a number of outstanding concerns with the Cross River Rail business case and we have advised the Queensland government of these concerns," a spokesman said in a statement.

"We are working with the Queensland government to address these and we hope to be able to finalise our evaluation when they are addressed."

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At a press conference later in the day, Ms Trad accused Infrastructure Australia and the federal government of withholding their support for the project for political reasons.

"A 2000-plus page, $7 million business case that had been independently reviewed was submitted to Infrastructure Australia more than a year ago," she said.

"Infrastructure Australia, back in 2012, said that this was the number one infrastructure priority of the nation.

"It seems to be that under Malcolm Turnbull and under Infrastructure Australia today, they have a different view. Well, I think they have come about that not based on the technical evidence that has been supplied in the business case, or the economic benefits that have been detailed in the business case, but for political reasons."

At a separate media conference on Friday, Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk backed up her deputy's concerns IA had been politicised.

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"I'm starting to get that feeling, and it's very disappointing," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"What does Malcolm Turnbull have against Queensland?"

But federal Treasurer Scott Morrison put the blame back on Queensland.

"We're getting a lot done in New South Wales because they just want to work with us and we welcome that approach and we would welcome that here in Queensland," he told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.

The federal government has funded a $530 million upgrade of the Bruce Highway between Pine River and Caloundra north of Brisbane and a $120 million to remove a significant bottleneck at Deception Bay, he said.

"These are our priorities and this is where we're putting our money," Mr Morrison said.

The state government may have to find money for the river project in its own budget to be handed down on June 13, or delay it further.

Woman in wheelchair left stranded on Brisbane train; Deputy Premier apologises .
A woman in a wheelchair is left stranded in a Brisbane railyard after Queensland Rail employees forget to help her disembark from a train, with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad since apologising to the woman. Karin Swift was catching her regular train to work last Tuesday morning when she informed staff at Central station she would need help to get off two stops later at Bowen Hills.When she arrived, no-one came to help her disembark and before she knew it the train was pulling away from the station."I started to scream out thinking someone would realise what had happened and come and no-one did," she said.

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