Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Campbell Newman’s only strategy to fund road projects in Queensland was to force drivers and businesses to pay tolls.
“Campbell Newman’s never seen a road he hasn’t wanted to toll,” Mr Pitt said.
“Between the tunnels that saw Brisbane City Council debt skyrocket under his Mayoralty, to Toowoomba, and probably to the Gateway North project, Mr Newman seems to think that Queenslanders only deserve roads if they are willing to pay tolls on them.
“Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney seems a fan of tolls too, given his own previous comments regarding a toll on the Bruce Highway.
“This is despite the lavish building they’re constructing for themselves in Brisbane. It has to be asked: if the Premier wasn’t wasting $2.6 billion on a palatial new office tower for himself in the Brisbane CBD, would this new road project and others need to be tolled?”
Mr Pitt said previous modelling undertaken on this project, still available on the Infrastructure Australia, suggested some tolls for certain vehicles could be as high as $80.
“The LNP needs to come clean on the tolling schedule. How much will it be? How long will the toll be in place? How will trucks be stopped from bypassing the new toll? Or will there be a new toll on the existing range crossing?
“We know the local Federal MP, the LNP’s Mr Macfarlane, has previously floated tolls upward of $30 on the new road, as well a brand new toll on the existing road*.”
The Government’s announcement offered little details as to the structure of the proposal, Mr Pitt said.
“Labor has always supported the merits of this project, but we won’t make a judgment on this proposal as it stands until the LNP is transparent with the details.
“The new business case for this project should be released immediately.
“Will taxpayers be funding the construction of this project, only for the LNP to sell off the infrastructure and allow the private sector to pocket the tolls?
“Needless to say, Campbell Newman’s toll roads to this point have been failures, and Tim Nicholls’ asset sale of government owned office towers in Brisbane was a debacle, with the Auditor-General confirming that the buildings were undersold by well over $200 million.
“This Government has proven incompetent on deals of this magnitude in the past, with the taxpayer footing the bill. Whenever Newman and Nicholls say ‘I’ve got a deal for you’, Queenslanders should hide their wallets.”