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Federal treasurer Scott Morrison has defended Infrastructure Australia’s critical assessment of the Palaszczuk government’s Cross River Rail project and refused to make a funding commitment.

In its evaluation of the $5.4 billion project, IA found its benefits were overstated and called for another business case to be drawn up, addressing a number of concerns.

“IA hasn’t given a pass mark, so certainly if that’s the case, I can’t see that on the agenda,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio on Thursday.

“We said we’d look at these things subject to it going through business case testing, so it’s not running too well on that.”

The Queensland government criticised Infrastructure Australia for issuing what the state says is an error-riddled evaluation of the Cross River Rail project.

Transport Minister Jackie Trad on Wednesday said 23 “unsubstantiated opinions, assertions or errors” in the evaluation, including wrongly identifying the suburb of West End as Hill Gate on a map, showed the federal body was not serious about assessing the project.

“Their analysis is based on mistakes and assumptions that are clearly false,” she said.

“What they are telling Queenslanders is Cross River Rail shouldn’t be built until we reach a crisis on our network, until we see patronage figures increase to 150 per cent.”

Griffith University, Engineers Australia and RACQ also criticised the evaluation.

Matthew Burke, from Griffith’s Cities Research Institute, said southeast Queensland was poised for a significant leap in rail patrons.

 

By Sonia Kohlbacher
 
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