Shorten commits $200m to Ipswich Motorway upgrade
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk last month challenged Malcolm Turnbull to match the State Government's $200 million in funding for the upgrade of the Ipswich Motorway from Darra to Rocklea.
But it is Labor leader Bill Shorten who has come to the party by committing the $200 million needed to kick start stage one of the project if the ALP wins government in the July election.
Mr Shorten made the funding announcement today while standing next to the Ipswich Motorway at Oxley, and flanked by Blair MP Shayne Neumann and Labor's candidate for Oxley Milton Dick.
The project will see the motorway widened to three lanes each way between Oxley Rd and Granard Rd.
A northern service road across Oxley Creek will also be built, with ramp rationalisation and smart motorway treatments on the Rocklea to Darra section.
An Infrastucture Australia audit said inaction on the motorway was costing the economy $40 million every year.
Mr Shorten has spoken at length in recent months about his determination to get the diabolical stretch of road upgraded, and now he has delivered with the dollars.
"If we want to have good quality of life in the western corridor we have got to make sure people don't suffer from congestion," he told the QT.
"I want the small businesses here and further out to Ipswich to be able to make the most of their commercial opportunities, and to do that they need world class infrastructure.
"Labor has a good track record of building things and getting things improved and Darra to Rocklea's first stage is long overdue.
"Mr Turnbull and his LNP team, by the election, will have had over 1000 days to do something, but my view is that if they won't they should get out of the way and let the people who want to make this community more successful in business terms and more liveable in family terms do it. Labor wants to put people first."
Mr Shorten has been a regular visitor to Ipswich and said he was moved by "the terrible consequences of the floods up here" when he was working on insurance claims and making sure people weren't ripped off.
He said the people of Ipswich and the western corridor deserved nothing less than quality infrastructure.
"For me this about jobs, about small business and about people spending time with their families and not stuck in congestion," he said.
Mr Shorten said Mr Dick and Mr Neumann, who he has christened 'Ipswich Motorway' for his constant lobbying on the issue, had been strong advocates for action on the upgrade.
"There were 10,000 jobs sustained during the building of the Dinmore to Darra section so there are many jobs here on the line and opportunities for local people," Mr Neumann said.
Mr Neumann said the project was shovel ready and would also, when completed, benefit the rural sections of his Blair electorate.
"It is important for farmers in the Ipswich region and beyond to get their produce to the markets and for export," he said
"It is important for JBS, a major beef producer in our region.
"After three years of idleness, ignorance and inactivity by the Coalition Government, who once said they will fast track the construction of Darra to Rocklea…it will take a Labor Government to do this project."
A QT survey published last Saturday revealed that 52% of respondents believed the Darra to Rocklea stretch of the Ipswich Motorway was the most pressing local infrastructure project.
Mr Dick said he received constant feedback from residents about the need to get the project completed.
"Without a doubt, residents have been banging on about sitting in traffic, not getting home on time, running late for work…you name it," he said.
"It is long overdue that we see improvements here and I am really pleased to see that Federal Labor and Bill Shorten has heard those community concerns."