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The Newman government should stop "faffing about" and commit to the Cross River Rail project, union leader Paul Howes says.
The Australian Workers Union national secretary did not withhold his fire at Premier Campbell Newman, saying the LNP state leader had "gone cold" on public transport investment and had also been "blinded by the mining boom" at the expense of the manufacturing industry,
Mr Howes told a press club luncheon in Brisbane that resolving the capacity constraints on the Queensland Rail network should be a priority for the Newman government.
"That means committing to the Cross River Rail project – not just faffing about with endless reviews and re-designs, and waiting for the Federal Government to fund it," he said.
"And it means finally delivering on the Moreton Bay rail link."
The LNP engaged a three-person expert panel to review the previous Labor government's plans for Cross River Rail, which found the project was "beyond the scope required to address the immediate rail capacity problem".
Last month the government unveiled a "leaner" Cross River Rail project, void of additional above-ground tracks south of Yeerongpilly or north of Victoria Park.
But, the LNP has still tied the future of the project to the federal government, saying it would not proceed if Canberra did not provide the required $3.6 billion funding.
In his address today, Mr Howes said Mr Newman had failed to include manufacturing in his government's “pillars for growth”.
"Manufacturing will be vital to our future prosperity after the mining boom fades," he said.
"I'm worried, however, that the Queensland government doesn't understand this. It's blinded by the boom, and thinks it can just relax and let the good times roll.
"It is ignoring the rate of change going in the world economy, and therefore it is failing to preparing Queensland for the forthcoming Asian century."
Mr Howes also voiced his concerns about the rise of fly-in fly-out workers in regional Queensland towns.
"The influx of high-wage FIFO employees with disposable income, combined with a shortage of local housing, can lead to sharp spikes in localised inflation and decreased standards of living for those who can't afford the increased prices," he said.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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