WITH BRISBANE’S rail fail dropping rail passengers by 10 million passengers in the last year, at last there’s a difference in the state election.
Labor is continuing with its $5 billion-plus Cross River tunnel in Brisbane, while the LNP is expressing doubts about the need for the commuter train tunnel until 2026, which allows it to promise dams and roads in regional Queensland.
Given both major parties have gipped giving back the $3 billion excess profit rip-off from the state electricity companies, this could be the major difference between the parties.
If you are a regional voter, your choice is $50 a year back on your electricity bill and a big subsidy to Brisbane commuters (mostly public servants) under the ALP, or dams for water-starved Townsville and agricultural potential in Rockhampton, Bowen and the Burdekin under the LNP.
Of course, the ALP city MPs, such as powerful Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, don’t want to talk dams because that would upset the green voters and preferences they’re so dependent on to hold their seats. The issue of how we feed all the extra Queensland dears in south-east Queensland without extra water for agriculture is not even raised.
That’s where voters need to connect the dots: if you boast about so many extra people living in Queensland to the extent they need a $5 billion-plus rail tunnel, you need to consider how they are going to be fed. That means more dams and well-controlled tree clearing for extra farming and grazing. Surely that’s just logical.
But what’s logical in political promises?
By delaying the Cross River tunnel (needed by 2026 at earliest if rail commuting grows, although it is falling), Queensland should be investing in agriculture to feed the future hordes escaping the losing Blues land.
But, if Broncos supporters think they can hobble the Cowboys by starving Townsville of water, they have under-estimated the resilience, and voting behaviour, of regional Queenslanders.