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Transcript: Doorstop, M1 Pacific Motorway Announcement

MR BERT VAN MANEN MP, MEMBER FOR FORDE:

Well good afternoon everybody and welcome to the fabulous electorate of Forde. In particular, I’d like to welcome today the Prime Minister – thank you Prime Minister. I’d like to welcome the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, my Gold Coast colleagues Karen Andrews, Stuart Robert, Steven Ciobo and Ross Vasta from Bonner and I’d also like to welcome Deb Frecklington, the Leader of the Opposition here in Queensland.

This is a tremendous day for the community of southeast Queensland and in particular the community of Logan.

We have seen over the past 20 years this missing part of the M1 corridor between the Logan Motorway and the Gateway has been under-funded and ignored by successive Labor Party governments at a state level and we are seeing today a billion dollar investment by a Coalition Government in the economic future of Logan and southeast Queensland.

Prime Minister and Minister, I’d like to thank you particularly for your willingness to pursue this investment and your willingness to listen to the concerns of the community here in Forde and more broadly across southeast Queensland. I’d like to invite you Prime Minister to say a few words, then I’ll pass over to Karen. 

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, thank you very much and I want to thank you Bert and Karen and all our colleagues from the Gold Coast and southeast Queensland here, who have been such passionate advocates for fixing the M1. There it is: fixtheM1.com.au.

That is the passion that they’ve brought to this case, to ensure that their constituents, Queenslanders, are able to get home sooner and safer.

One billion congestion-busting dollars is what we’re putting on the table to get these two projects done.

They’ve been missing links in this great freeway here that have needed to be done for a long time and now the money is there. It’s there because we’re bringing the budget back into balance. Because of our strong economic management, we’re able to make these big investments.

You know in the last year, 420,700 jobs created in Australia, 128,000 of them in Queensland.

These projects and the other projects that we are supporting on the M1 including the Gateway merge, will be at the north of the project that starts at Daisy Hill and finishes at Eight Mile Plain. Those jobs are starting soon. We’re putting hundreds of millions of dollars into them and they will then be followed by these projects.

So what we’re seeing is continued investment, bringing Queenslanders home sooner and safer. $1billion congestion-busting dollars, meaning millions of hours, millions and millions of hours, Queenslanders will have more time with their families at home, instead of being stuck in a car park on the M1. Karen.

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND SKILLS, THE HON. KAREN ANDREWS MP:

For all of those people who sit in traffic up and down the M1 on a daily basis, today is the day that starts a brighter future for them. Because they’re not going to be spending forever sitting in the vehicles, wasting time that they would be spending either at work being productive or at home with their families. This is a fantastic announcement for the people on the southern Gold Coast who have waited a long time for the surety to know that their days of sitting in the traffic are now numbered and that they will get a clear ride from the southern end of the Gold Coast through to Brisbane. Today is a spectacular announcement.

Thanks to the Prime Minister for agreeing to fund this great outcome for us on the southern Gold Coast and of course here in the electorate of Forde.

Thank you.

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES, THE HON. PAUL FLETCHER MP:

Well, look, I’m very, very pleased to be here with the Prime Minister, with Bert Van Manen, with Karen Andrews, with Steve Ciobo, with Stuart Robert with Ross Vasta and with LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. I do want to congratulate the LNP federal team here in southeast Queensland, on the Gold Coast and surrounding electorates, for their remarkable efforts and consistent advocacy in relation to the critical need to upgrade capacity on the M1 corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

This is the leadership that a national government, a federal government, needs to deliver. By putting $1 billion on the table today, we are laying the way forward for this upgrade on these two vital stages of the M1 corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Varsity Lakes from Tugun at the southern end, where we’ll be able to go with this funding from four lanes to six lanes. Then, Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill, closer towards Brisbane, a very, very busy part of the motorway indeed, as we approach the merge with the Gateway. About 150,000 vehicles a day using the motorway at that point and the Commonwealth Government funding will allow a project to increase the motorway from six lanes to eight lanes and associated elements, including an increase or an extension of the busway to Springwood.

These are transformational projects that will help to reduce congestion and improve travel times on the M1 corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

I do really want to acknowledge the terrific work of LNP federal MP’s up and down the M1 who have been such strong advocates for this investment. The key point to make is this: we are providing this investment in plenty of time, so that once two existing projects on the M1 corridor are completed – that’s to say Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes and the Gateway Merge – where we’ve already committed funding, agreed that with the Queensland government, and where substantial works will commence shortly after the Commonwealth Games finish, those substantive works through existing projects will complete, scheduled to complete in 2020.

With this new $1 billion commitment from the Turnbull Government today, we’re now putting in place the way forward so that these two new projects can be rolled out from 2020.

What now needs to happen is that the Queensland Government needs to come forward with detailed business cases to Infrastructure Australia. So we encourage them to do that as quickly as possible so we can put this money to work and relieve congestion and improve travel times on the M1 corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

PRIME MINISTER:

Very good. So, do we have any questions?

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, can you just explain what you want the Queensland Government to do now and why you are doing a 50:50 funding split and not an 80:20?

PRIME MINISTER:

Right well, the funding. The last thing Queenslanders want us to do is to get into an argument about who pays what. But as you all know, historically the practice has always been with both LNP and Labor governments on both federal and state for the funding on the M1 to be 50:50 and the two projects the Gateway merge and the Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes projects for example are 50:50 projects. So that's the basis for that.

Look, Australians pay their taxes, state taxes, they pay federal taxes they want their governments to get on and build things. They want this billion dollars of ours that we're contributing, the federal government is contributing, and a billion dollars from the state to be put together to make it two billion congestion busting dollars. That's what they want us to do; to get on and get people able to get home sooner and safer.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister is there a catch? If they don't cough up $1 billion will you take your $1 billion off the table?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well clearly, this project needs to be built. There's no doubt about that and Queensland has the resources, it has the responsibility. This is Queensland's road after all and we're offering $1 billion to be matched with theirs and get these two remaining big projects completed.

I'll ask Paul to add to that.

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES:

If I can just add to what the Prime Minister has absolutely correctly said. When the Turnbull Government committed funding for Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes and the Gateway Merge during the 2016 election campaign, we saw the same kind of responses from the Palaszczuk government at that time. We saw a whole raft of arguments being rolled out, arcane arguments about funding splits. We made the point that the 50:50 funding basis on which we provided that funding was entirely consistent with what had been done by federal governments both Liberal National on the one hand and labor on the other for many years on the M1 corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. And ultimately after a fair bit of posturing and chest beating we got to a constructive outcome.

Now I'm confident that we'll get to a similar constructive outcome here because what we are putting on the table is a billion dollars to relieve congestion and improve travel times on that M1 corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

That's what we're putting on the table. We look forward to engaging with the Queensland Government. We'll do that in a sensible way. But this is a game changing commitment from the Turnbull Government and we now call upon the Queensland Government to work with us constructively so we can collectively deliver the outcomes that the people of southeast Queensland expect us to deliver: upgrading this vital corridor so everybody can get to and from work more quickly and get more time with their families.

JOURNALIST:

Minister can you spell out exactly though what happens to your billion if the state doesn’t contribute what you’d like?

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES:

What I’d say is we will have constructive engagement with the Queensland Government. We saw this kind of posturing from the Queensland Government after the last funding commitment we made. I make the point we secured an outcome and indeed both…

JOURNALIST:

It doesn’t sound like you’ll be talking, can I just interrupt, it sounds like you’re threatening. Are you threatening them that if they don’t come up with a billion you’ll take yours away? Is that what you want to tell families?

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES:

What we're doing, to put a billion dollars on the table is certainly not a threat. A billion dollars is a contribution.

JOURNALIST:

Well, why won’t you answer the question? Everyone’s asking the same question?

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES:

It's a game changing contribution towards relieving congestion…

JOURNALIST:

It’s not game changing if nothing happens.

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES:

…and improving travel times on the M1 corridor between Brisbane the Gold Coast.

I make the point that we saw exactly the same kind of messaging from the Queensland Government when we last announced funding for projects on the M1 corridor. We reached a sensible outcome and those two projects – work on both of them – will commence within a matter of weeks as soon as the Commonwealth Games is finished and I'm very confident…

JOURNALIST:

But Minister will the Commonwealth fund this project by itself if the Queensland government doesn’t come to the table?

MINISTER FOR URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE AND CITIES:

I am very confident that we will be able to reach constructive engagement.

Let's focus on what we're seeing today: a game changing outcome with the Turnbull Government putting $1 billion on the table to transform congestion and travel times on the M1 corridor. That is an absolute game changing commitment and we look forward to working to put that money to use.

JOURNALIST:

Is it your intention to resign by December – can I just finish the question – by December time as has been suggested by former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce?

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks very much, we went through all of that yesterday. I'm focused today, right here on the issue that is of the keenest interest to the people that are watching us now. They want to know what we're doing to ensure they're not stuck in traffic on the M1. They to know how we're going to get them home sooner and safer.

That's why we're talking about the one billion congestion busting dollars we're putting on the table today and why I'm very confident and I know, you know for one so young you shouldn't be so gloomy.

[Laughter]

I'm very confident, I'm very optimistic, you should be optimistic. And the bottom line is that this money will go towards ensuring that Queenslanders get home sooner and safer.

JOURNALIST:

Will you be taking Barnaby’s advice if the polls don’t improve by Christmas and do the honourable thing and resign?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look, I saw what he said and he's free to provide his advice but I can assure you I will be leading the Liberal Party and the Liberal-National Coalition to the next election, which will be held in the first half of next year in accordance with the timetable, the Constitution in fact. Yes, please?

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of the news of a high ranking union official was involved in a fake Black Lives Matter, trying to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, what do you make of that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look, I haven't seen the details of that report but any sort of dishonesty or fraud of that kind, of the kind that's alleged, is wrong. It would be illegal, but again I can't go any further having not seen all the details about it. But I'm aware there have been some very serious allegations made.

JOURNALIST:

Did Peter Dutton ever raise immigration…

PRIME MINISTER:

The story on the front page – I'm so glad you asked that – the story on the front page of The Australian today about migration and the Cabinet is completely untrue. It is false. No, it is completely untrue. It is completely untrue. It is completely untrue.

JOURNALIST:

The article? Or whether it was canvased or not?

PRIME MINISTER:

The article, the claim in the article is false. Full stop. Okay? Full stop. It's false and the journalist concerned should consider the reliability of his sources.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned that China has asked Vanuatu to build a military base?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the High Commissioner of Vanuatu, the Foreign Minister has assured us today has said that no such request has been made. So that's been the statement from Vanuatu. Just let me go on. Let me say this, however: the maintenance of peace and stability in the Pacific is of utmost importance to us, to Australia, it’s one of the key priorities of our Foreign Policy White Paper.

We would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific Island countries and neighbors of ours. What those countries are looking to us and other nations for is investment in economic infrastructure, in social infrastructure and in building their own capacities and capabilities.

So that's why we make such an effort in the Pacific to support them when times are tough, through natural disasters in particular and of course providing so much aid and other investment. That's what those, our friends in the Pacific need. We put a great effort into the Pacific Islands region.

As you know we've reached, in fact the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, I was speaking to about these issues very recently. But this is particularly important, that we maintain the Pacific, as its name suggests, a peaceful region and that is why we are focused on maintaining peace and stability among the Pacific Islands.

Thank you, thanks very much.