Queensland’s premier has rubbished opposition claims a second M1 between Brisbane and the Gold Coast would cost just $500 million and asked which assets would be sold to fund the estimated $2.
4 billion project.
Annastacia Palaszczuk avoided directly answering questions about duplicating the the state’s busiest motorway, instead saying her Labor government was focused on public transport.
She said the light rail extension between the southern Queensland cities would mean fewer cars on the road.
“Once that second stage of the light rail is complete, we will start seeing a lot of people move off the roads and on to public transport,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters in Bundaberg on Wednesday.
Her comments come a day after Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls launched a petition calling on the government to commit to the project, while refusing to promise his Liberal National Party would build it if it won the next election.
It proposed building the first stage of the second M1 through an already-earmarked 36.5km corridor between Stapylton and Nerang.
“The opposition talk clearly about a petition – no plan to build that,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday.
Mr Nicholls defended his costings of the project, saying they came from reputable sources.
“Our costings are in the mid-range. They’re the costings that are supported by the South East Queensland Council of Mayors,” he told reporters in Innisfail.
“Once we have an election date … we’ll be making all our policy announcements, including announcements to deal with relieving congestion in southeast Queensland.”
A duplication of the M1 has not been a vote-winner in the past.
Former Labor premier Wayne Goss famously lost eight seats in the 1995 state election, partly due to his second motorway plan, which was dubbed the “koala toll road” because it would have cut through a koala habitat.
The RACQ has already signalled its support for a second highway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.