5 MINUTES: TUNNEL VISION – Brisbane Infrastructures

Thank you, Mr Speaker

I have a vision

A vision that would take trucks of Brisbane roads, making it safer for Brisbane families by reducing congestion, noise and air pollution.

A vision that would bring thousands of job opportunities for locals.

A vision that would strengthen our supply chain resilience and increase the export and import capabilities of local businesses.

A vision that would revolutionise the Queensland economy and ensure that Queensland is brought into line with the World’s best Practice for freight.

And that vision, Deputy Speaker, is Tunnel Vision.

A dedicated tunnel connecting the Port of Brisbane to the inland rail would transform Brisbane into the logistics capital of Australia.

In the 2022 Financial Year, the Port of Brisbane, located in the north of my electorate of Bonner, contributed $7.8 billion to the Queensland economy.

Along with its supply chain networks, the Port of Brisbane also supported 63,000 jobs with 7,900 of those jobs directly within the port precinct.

This is despite the Port of Brisbane currently running at 10% capacity.

Let me reiterate that, running at only 10% capacity.

Think of the billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and limitless business opportunities we are currently missing out on because the Port of Brisbane is running at only 10% capacity.

Mr Speaker, we are doing a disservice to current and future generations of Australian’s if we do not unlock the Port of Brisbane’s economic potential.

And my Tunnel Vision will help achieve this by bringing our freight network into the 21st century.

It also has the added benefit of taking a predicted 13 million trucks off Brisbane roads by 2050.

Currently, over 97% of freight leaves the port of Brisbane by truck, causing increased road degradation, traffic congestion, as well as noise and air pollution for Brisbane locals.

Don’t get me wrong, truckies are vital to our economy and without them, Australia would stop.

We must always be thankful for our truckies.

But the reality is, with a prediction of over 50% of Queensland’s population living in Brisbane by 2032, and the city becoming increasing landlocked, it will not be viable to have this many trucks on Brisbane roads.

All it will do is cause more congestion, increase freight costs with time lost, and put greater pressure on businesses and supply chains.

Tunnel Vision is the best solution to get trucks off roads, whilst also causing the least disruption to family homes and our local environment.

With fully electric locomotives, we will also be ensuring our future supply chains are reducing their carbon footprint. And thus eliminating the need for smoke stacks from the tunnel.

There is just one major problem though, Mr Speaker, we are still waiting for the Queensland State Government to release the Port of Brisbane Strategic Rail Access Study.

On the 17th of February 2021, I wrote to the Queensland State Minister for Transport and Main Roads urging him to release this study.

A study that the former Coalition Government contributed $20 million to.

Well, it’s over 2 years later, and this report, this taxpayer funded report has still not been made public.

This means I along with other MPs and councillors cannot consult with our constituents and engage in community feedback.

It means we cannot tell them exactly where the train lines will be, and we cannot tell them how or if their homes will be impacted.

Simply put, we are all in the dark, and this is unfair and un-Australian.

Mr Speaker, whilst the cost of the tunnel will be in the billions, there is no doubt about that, the tunnel vision project is about leaving a legacy for future generations.

This is about saying we planned for their future.

That when we had the chance, we took trucks off the roads, made it safer for families, protected our local environment and planned for the future growth of Brisbane.

We cannot wait – the time is now.

I am again calling on the State Labor Government to release the Port of Brisbane Strategic Rail Access Study.

And help plan for a better future for all of Brisbane and indeed all of Australia.