Rail Fail


As I rise to speak, yet again the 5.38 pm from Doomben is on bypass. That is a regular occurrence. Every Friday, my daughter does what the minister wants her to do and catches the train home from school. Almost as regular as clockwork, she will ring up and say, 'Mum or Dad, can you pick me up from a different station, because guess what? The Doomben line is cancelled yet again!' On a Friday afternoon, yet again the Doomben line has been cancelled.


That is just one small example and tonight other members have indicated failings that they experience because of this minister's complete and utter incompetence. I stand to support the motion, because how can anyone have confidence in this minister? How can anyone have confidence in a minister who cannot even keep control of his own emails? How can anyone have confidence in a minister who fails so frequently to discharge his duties?


I have been thinking about the problems with Queensland Rail and what is going on. We are now up to our fourth minister. Under the Palaszczuk government, we have had four ministers in four years. Under the LNP, we had one minister in three years and the trains ran on time. We had one minister in three years, and guess what? Trains actually fitted in tunnels! We had one minister in three years, and guess what? Trains actually had seats! Under the LNP we had one minister in three years and the trains had air conditioning that ran. We had one minister in three years and we saw a five per cent reduction—the first ever—in public transport fares. We had one LNP minister in three years and the rate of on-time running went from the worst in Australia at 84.5 per cent to the best in Australia at more than 95.5 per cent.


Our minister introduced the 15-minute on-demand service on the Ferny Grove line during peak times and an extra 1,000 services. He delivered services out to Springfield and made sure that those trains ran on time. He turned on the power for the Gold Coast light rail stage 1 and made sure that it ran on time. He fixed the delays that had been experienced for years under Labor. We had a minister who was aware of what was going on with Queensland Rail and took an interest in it.


In contrast, we all remember Rachel Nolan, the former member for Ipswich. When asked, 'Is Queensland Rail for sale?' she stood over there—I still remember it—and said, 'No chance; this will not happen under a Labor government'. The following day, the former member for what was then the seat of Mount Coot-tha stood up and said, 'Guess what? We are selling Queensland Rail!' That was all courtesy of Labor.


I thought I had seen the worst of Labor transport ministers with Nolan, Wallace and Palaszczuk. I thought I had seen them all. The member for Inala, the now Premier, was so mean that she actually cut the provision of water bubblers at railway stations. The poor old commuter could not even bend over and get a sip of water on the way through, even though they were invariably thirsty as the trains were not running. If they got on them they could not get off them and the trains did not have loos. That was the legacy of the member for Inala. Of course, she was very angry—very, very angry—about it all. I saw a media release from her saying that she was very angry about it, but nothing happened.


In this state, under this incompetent, untrustworthy and failed minister, what is happening with Queensland Rail is like watching Murder on the Orient Express: the bodies keep falling. First of all the chairman goes. Then two directors go. That followed a previous chairman and a previous CEO. And all the way through, the assailant strolls the corridors, knifing everyone else and hoping to avoid responsibility. That is why this minister is incompetent and should heed the call and resign.


17th October, 2018