The Road Ahead : August 1st 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2012 20 LIFESTYLE QUEENSLAND INTERVIEW Q: The Premier has always had a strong infrastructure focus. Do you expect that to continue over the next few years? A: No doubt about it. We're committed to delivering on our election promises. We're developing a business case for a Toowoomba range second crossing. That's well and truly underway. We're committed to our Roads to Resources policy. What that policy is all about, is recognising a lot of these resource communities are doing the heavy lifting in terms of money they're generating for the state. There are impacts on these communities as well. So we've committed $285m additional money over four years, building up to $100m every year after that, to feed money back into the road systems in these communities. The Bruce Highway: we said we would put $1 billion on the table -- additional money -- over 10 years, as long as the Federal Government puts in additional money. Normally that's at a ratio of three, or four, to one, so that's what we're looking for. The Bruce Highway is, of course, a national road. As the RACQ has said, over next 10 years there will be 300-400 people killed on that road if we don't make significant repairs. So we are looking at safety, flood mitigation and capacity issues. My department is working up a 15-year plan to look at where that money can be spent. It all can't happen instantaneously. Q: How confident are you that Queensland can obtain these billions in federal funding? A: I've been talking to (Federal Transport Minister) Anthony Albanese and he knows our viewpoint from very early on, when I became minister. I've caught up with him several times and I don't let the issue of the Bruce Highway escape any of our conversations. I've also spoken to (Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) Warren Truss. He knows (the issue of the Bruce Highway) very well -- it runs through his (Wide Bay) electorate. The Federal Government is expected to be committing itself to the Bruce Highway -- Queenslanders expect that. Q: Is it your plan to have more user pays (toll roads) projects in the future, or will we see a return to infrastructure spending from the budget? A: In light of the difficult financial situation we've inherited, we're looking at the private sector to get involved in projects. I'm not going to rule out tolls on suitable projects, on a case-by-case basis. If it comes down to being able to afford building infrastructure or not have it at all, we will look at those situations. There's been speculation from Federal Labor about tolls on the Bruce Highway. We're opposed to it and I'd urge the Labor Opposition in Queensland to get onto their federal colleagues and make sure the Federal Government rules it out too. AFTER STUDYING LAW, economics and journalism at the University of Queensland, Scott Emerson began his career as a cadet journalist with the ABC in 1988. In 1994, he joined The Australian as its Queensland political reporter. Four years later, he was appointed the paper's Queensland bureau chief and, in 2000, was national chief of staff for The Australian during the Sydney Olympics. In 2001, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study political campaigning, including undertaking research at Harvard and in Washington D.C. He left The Australian in 2004 to become a director and equity partner in a Brisbane-based public and media relations firm. Mr Emerson was elected to the Queensland Parliament at the 2009 state election, representing the seat of Indooroopilly for the Liberal National Party. In April this year, he was sworn in as the Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads following the LNP's election win. Mr Emerson is married to Robyn, and the couple have a daughter and son. Oh, and his first car as a struggling university student, was a Datsun 1600 with an eight-ball gearknob. challenging road ahead for minister STORY BARRY GREEN | PHOTO STU RILEY FOR A LONGER VERSION OF THIS INTERVIEW, GO TO WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU/MOTORING.
June July 2012