PROJECT PROPOSAL: The One Nation Party are angry that a $29 billion super-fast rail plan for south east Queensland could attract funding from the State Government ahead of much-needed projects for Central Queensland. Photo: Courier Mail
PROJECT PROPOSAL: The One Nation Party are angry that a $29 billion super-fast rail plan for south east Queensland could attract funding from the State Government ahead of much-needed projects for Central Queensland. Photo: Courier Mail

Outrage in CQ over $29b proposal for high-speed rail in SEQ

ONE NATION Party's candidates for Rockhampton and Keppel have seized upon a plan being floated to sink $28.8 billion into a high-speed rail project as another example of CQ being shafted in favour of south east Queensland.

Driven by mayors based in SEQ, the project was billed as a "congestion buster" connecting Brisbane to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba in as little as 45 minutes, while creating 8000 jobs and strengthening a bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.

Given that Central Queensland had struggled to receive adequate state funding for massive job generating projects including a full-sized Rookwood Weir, the Great Keppel Island undersea power and water connection, South Rockhampton Flood Levee and a Rockhampton Stadium, One Nation's candidates were seeing red with the multi-billion dollar proposal, calling for Labor to rule out the plan.

One Nation's Rockhampton candidate Torin O'Brien scoffed at the proposed high-speed rail project saying it was coal royalties that would again pay for southeast Queensland infrastructure.

One Nation's candidate for Rockhampton Torin O'Brien (right), pictured here with One Nation's Keppel candidate Wade Rothery and party leader Senator Pauline Hanson, is calling for Labor to rule out support for a high-speed rail project for south east Queensland.
One Nation's candidate for Rockhampton Torin O'Brien (right), pictured here with One Nation's Keppel candidate Wade Rothery and party leader Senator Pauline Hanson, is calling for Labor to rule out support for a high-speed rail project for south east Queensland.

"Rockhampton and surrounding areas are fed crumbs when it comes to state funding, yet the money that pays to keep this state afloat comes from Central Queensland coal fields," Mr O'Brien said.

"Their priorities are all wrong."

"All we hear from Labor is how terrible coal is, yet the goose that lays the golden egg is expected to pay for high-speed trains so that Brisbane can continue its bid for the Olympic Games in 2032."

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke responded to Mr O'Brien's claim saying the fast rail plan being pushed in SEQ was an idea "cooked up by a bunch of local mayors with the support of Federal LNP MPs".

"There's no funding proposal for it with our government," Mr O'Rourke said.

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said Labor wasn’t considering the fast-rail proposal.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said Labor wasn’t considering the fast-rail proposal.

"As usual, One Nation's candidates are playing games and hiding the real facts.

"The global pandemic has put discussions about a future Olympics bid on hold."

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He said the Queensland Government's focus was on the economic recovery, creating jobs and delivering major projects across regional Queensland, including Central Queensland.

"(Mr O'Brien) needs to get out a bit more and see all the work we're delivering on roads around Rocky," he said.

"And we haven't even started the $1 billion Rockhampton Ring Road project, which will support hundreds of jobs and create work for local businesses over the next few years.

"One Nation's only got one way of operating - make a lot of noise, promise the world and then break their promises to sell you out."

>> READ: CBD to beach in 45 minutes: How fast rail could unlock SEQ

>> READ: Government defends level of Browne Park Stadium consultation

>> READ: Five-minute survey to help shape QLD's future

One Nation's candidate for Keppel Wade Rothery wants to see the money generated in Central Queensland spent on local job generating projects like the power and water connection to Great Keppel Island.
One Nation's candidate for Keppel Wade Rothery wants to see the money generated in Central Queensland spent on local job generating projects like the power and water connection to Great Keppel Island.

Keppel One Nation candidate Wade Rothery said instead of the high-speed rail plan, Labor should be focused on delivering its 2017 election commitment to provide power and water to Great Keppel Island which would have green lit a rejuvenation and building project worth as much as $1.5 billion.

"Labor must think the people of Keppel and regional Queensland are mugs," Mr Rothery said.

"As a community, we are tired of being misled on infrastructure funding. We're denied adequate high schools for growing towns like Emu Park and Gracemere.

"We're refused infrastructure funding that would reinvigorate our tourism sector on the Capricorn Coast and as a result, our region has some of the highest unemployment in the state."

One Nation has vigorously challenged Labor and the LNP's support for the 2032 Olympic Games bid, saying the modern games have cost countries tens of billions of dollars with zero returns.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga sought to set the record straight for One Nation's candidates.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said her government was focused on the economic recovery effort rather than considering funding proposals for high-speed rail in the south east of the state.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said her government was focused on the economic recovery effort rather than considering funding proposals for high-speed rail in the south east of the state.

"The fast rail plan being pushed in SEQ is a plan compiled by local Mayors with the support of Federal LNP MPs," Ms Lauga

"The Palaszczuk Government has not offered any funding nor has it entertained any funding proposal.

"As usual, One Nation's candidates have got it wrong again, and with complete disregard for the facts."

According to the latest data, Ms Lauga said the Queensland Government invested $1.121 billion in infrastructure in Central Queensland (for 2018-19).

"Central Queensland generated $940 million in coal royalties," Ms Lauga said.

"That means for every dollar of royalties the region generates, it gets $1.19 in infrastructure investment - effectively, every dollar of royalties is already going back into the region, plus more."

Ms Lauga said while One Nation continued to risk the health and safety of Queenslanders when it threatened to sue the Queensland Government because it didn't open the borders, her government was focused on protecting the health of Queenslanders and driving the economic recovery through its comprehensive Unite and Recover Plan.

"Despite what One Nation continues to push, a large part of our $50 billion infrastructure program will create jobs and deliver major projects across regional Queensland, including Central Queensland," she said.

"These job-creating projects will provide jobs for you, your family and your friends."


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