FEDERAL Treasurer Scott Morrison has slapped down Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for playing politics in the battle for cross river rail funding.
Speaking outside a function at Raby Bay to sell the budget, Mr Morrison said if the Queensland government spent as much time and effort running the state as it did attacking the Commonwealth, a lot more would be happening in Queensland.
“They’ve got to stop playing politics and deliver for Queensland,’’ Mr Morrison said. “We are keen to work with them but if they want to spend all their time politicking, they are wasting their time.’’
Mr Morrison scoffed at suggestions that the federal government might suffer an electoral backlash over its refusal to fund the cross-river project which will cut 14 minutes from the Cleveland to Brisbane CBD rail commute.
He said the business case for the cross river rail had not been done and his government had other priority projects like the Bruce and M1 highways.
Ms Palaszczuk said the 2000-page, $7 million business case had been sent to the Commonwealth.
“The failure to make any specific funding for Cross River Rail in the federal budget was extremely disappointing,’’ she said.
“Despite receiving the business case and signing an MoU on the project last year, the federal government continues to refuse to contribute the funding needed.
“My government has committed $850 million for the project. Of all the projects nominated for the National Rail Program in the budget last week, only Cross River Rail has a completed business case.”
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Morrison sold the budget in Queensland, the cross river rail and inland rail projects dominated their sales pitch.
Cross river rail will take up to 18,500 car trips off major arterial roads daily and improve access to key amenities, including hospitals, universities and sporting venues.
Mr Morrison said both governments were under budgetary pressure but he wanted Queensland to lift its game.
Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said Mr Turnbull had said that the states could not keep using the federal government like an ATM to get money for infrastructure projects.
“So it does look like the PM is not going to play ball with Cross River Rail,’’ he said. “The Queensland government should start Cross River Rail with its own finances.’’