Pauline Hanson says Coast needs rail upgrade
THE duplication of the rail line should be the Coast's number one infrastructure priority and Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson said it would be a project she would be willing to fight for.
The One Nation leader was invited to the Sunshine Coast yesterday by State Member for Buderim Steve Dickson, who said his goal was to draw Ms Hanson's attention to much-needed infrastructure projects which he said also included the Bruce Hwy and the Mooloolah River Interchange.
While Ms Hanson supported the need for a Bruce Hwy upgrade to four lanes in both directions, she said that as senator she was responsible for representing all of Queensland and it wasn't an issue she was "going to knock on Malcolm Turnbull's door about".
"Because I can see other priorities where money needs to be spent," she said.
"If it's feasible for the government to afford the upgrade, I'd say yes."
She said she felt rail should be the priority.
Ms Hanson said local and state government should stop allowing development to take place on the Coast before relevant infrastructure was in place.
Should the government borrow funds for Coast road upgrades?
This poll ended on 14 October 2016.
Yes. The sooner they happen the better.
No. They should wait until we can afford them.
Depends on interest rates and the budget.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Regarding the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the shelved $440 million Mooloolah River Interchange needed to control the volume of traffic, Ms Hanson said it was essential the roadworks were done.
"If I end up with the balance of power in the next State Parliament I would be borrowing money to do the infrastructure project now," she said.
"With the interest rate as low as it is we need to stop band-aid solutions, bite the bullet and start getting these things done."
Both Mr Dickson and Ms Hanson agreed that government should increase borrowing to fund the projects.
Mr Dickson said that from a personal perspective he was completely against asset sales - the method his LNP government planned to use to finance the building of the interchange.
"In 2012 to 2015 we went out to say we were going to lease infrastructure and it didn't work," Mr Dickson said.
"We lost 30 seats and I think the people of Queensland spoke very loudly.
"The LNP will speak for itself. I'm a humble backbencher these days and I will go along with things but if it gets down to a vote on whether or not we sell assets, I won't support selling assets."
Mr Dickson said if he were Queensland Premier he would go directly to the director general of Main Roads and instruct him to build it into the budget.
"I'd say there's $150 million to do the pre-loading, that needs to go down now, and it's two years until the bitumen needs to go down.
"So you've got that timeline of three years to be able to get that budget into place.
"That's why I've been extremely disappointed with the Main Roads minister, because he's playing politics.
"Because it's an LNP area, they're not putting the funding in place."