Aren’t MPIs fun! I’m going to address some of the issues that have been raised here. It was suggested previously that we can’t talk about immigration and its impact on infrastructure without somehow raising the prospect of the White Australia policy. That was raised in the context of the current debate on the Voice. So let’s have some truth telling. The White Australia policy is a Labor policy dismantled by a Liberal government. Let’s have that. That’s a little bit of truth and I’d like to hold onto that. It’s one that I’m quite proud of. They talk about immigration; they talk about the projected number being bigger under us. What they’re conveniently forgetting is the cap of 160,000 that was put on immigration by the previous government. Again, another piece of truth for us.
We’re told that we’re fearmongering, that we’re raising fears amongst councils. And yet in Senate estimates just this week it was confirmed that not only projects but also programs are under review. This is an important point for us to go through. To add to this, we had the minister confirm that they will deliver the $120 million pipeline, but also confirmed that the pipeline is under review. What’s the review for? What’s the value of the review? You’ve got two pathways here that don’t make sense. Either they are under review, either there is something that’s going to change because you’re reviewing it, or they’re not and you’re going to deliver them. Which one is it? It’s just a complete mess of communication coming through here.
This brings me to the Inland Rail, certainly the most important and significant piece of infrastructure that will come through my part of the world. It will impact regional Australia in a way that we cannot even yet foresee. This is something that has been talked about for the best part of 100 years. We’ve seen this opportunity, and it’s here in front of us now. We have the opportunity to deliver it. When they came into government, they made a big noise about putting this through a review. They were going to sort this all out. This was all going to be sorted out. Inland Rail was going to be solved by the Schott report; it was going to be fantastic.
What we get from the Schott report—I’ve been the loudest critic of the ARTC’s delivery. I’ve sat at the kitchen tables of people who’ve been affected by, quite frankly, their poor consultation standards. Let’s see what the review comes at. There was this great review that was going to solve Inland Rail. They’ve come up with putting it at Ebenezer. This doesn’t even have a business case on the table yet; this end point doesn’t have a business case. There’s a one-lane road each way next to the Cunningham Highway. It’s already high risk and it runs right through a significant residential area. Imagine running B-double trucks through that area, thinking that’s going to pass through your approvals. It’s absolutely ridiculous. There is no way that Ebenezer fits up, yet this is the result of the review. What does this do to Inland Rail? It absolutely puts it under threat, because it’s not a viable end point.
When we’re told the projects and the programs are under review, yes, there is a threat that ridiculous outcomes like Ebenezer might be found for other projects. Toowoomba has the most to gain from that project. I will fight continuously for that. We must get that project to Toowoomba. The hard work has been done. To not get us there, to not deliver that project now—the opportunity cost is immense.
One thing that being a regional Liberal provides me, particularly in a seat like mine, is the importance of investment in road infrastructure. Our government delivered the second range crossing that takes trucks out of 17 sets of traffic lights through Toowoomba. This is a significant $1.2 billion investment in improving safety throughout the city of Toowoomba. It’s transformed it. Our government invested in the flood protection works right up along East and West Creek that have stopped Toowoomba flooding every time it rains. This is a significant change. Just last week, I was at the corner of the Perth Street and Curzon Street works progressing under the black spot program—crucial for our area. Anyone who has driven out west of Toowoomba across those plains and sees what happens to the roads through there will see that this needs constant work and renewal. The Warrego, the Gore and the New England highways running north-south—these roads need our attention. These programs are specifically designed to help the people who are there, who are closest to them, to work on them. That’s the councils. That’s what these programs are for.
When we’re told we’re just fearmongering: no, we’re passing on what was revealed in Senate estimates—that these projects are under review. And when these reviews happen, adverse outcomes, like the ridiculous selection of Ebenezer, can happen. So, yes, there is a threat and, yes, will do the right thing and speak to our councils and pass this on because this is important, to make sure we continue to grow our country.