The Queensland government’s key infrastructure project has failed to receive funding in the federal budget, leaving the state to pick up the slack.
The Palaszczuk government has been calling on the federal government to at least match its $850 million funding commitment to start work on a second river crossing for the state capital.
Instead the budget sets up a 10-billion-dollar National Rail Program, which has a pool of money available, meaning Cross River Rail will have to fight for funding against other projects including the Tullamarine Rail Link, and the Western Sydney Airport Rail Link.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said in addition, the money in that fund won’t be available until at least 2019.
“Yet again other states get direct funding injections but Queensland has to jump through hoops,” Mr Pitt said.
“Cross River Rail is the number one priority for the state, and the reason it is our number one priority is because it’s a project that must happen.”
The lack of federal funds will now put pressure on Mr Pitt to fill the gap in the upcoming June state budget, but he stopped short of ruling out Cross River Railwill getting under way by the end of the year.
“We’re not ruling anything in or out, we’ve seen the promise of future funding but no money allocated to our project, so we’ll prosecute our argument strongly.”
There is a major rail project for Queensland, in the form of the $8.4 billion Brisbane to Melbourne inland rail project.
Queensland will also see $844 million worth of upgrades to the Bruce Highway, as well as $200 million for community infrastructure in regional areas under the Building Better Regions Fund, and grants of up to $10 million over four years under a new $272 million Regional Growth Fund.