Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Bruce Highway Action Plan stalled with Albanese at the wheel



Download PDFDownload PDF

24 October 2012

Bruce Highway Action Plan stalled with Albanese at the wheel

“IT’S a case of being all revved up with no place to go on the Bruce Highway Action Plan,” Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss lamented following its release by the Queensland Government in Townsville today.

“The man behind the wheel of the Gillard government’s road funding is going nowhere fast. Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has taken his foot off the gas and is prepared to leave communities on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns stranded.

“It was revealed last week that he is now imposing a 50:50 funding ultimatum on all states for nation-building projects, including the Bruce Highway - reneging on normal 80:20 funding arrangements and plunging all national roads construction planning into chaos.

“Today’s release of the Bruce Highway Action Plan by the Queensland government details just some of the work that needs to be done on the Bruce. It succinctly restates Queensland’s commitment to put an extra $1 billion on the table to fix the highway over the next decade.

“Under the normal funding arrangements, that means the federal government would stump up $4 billion to make the deadly Bruce Highway safer, more reliable and more efficient. But I fear it won’t get the green light from Mr Albanese, who is busy playing a cynical political game to reduce Commonwealth funding for roads.

“The Coalition can do better than that and is committed to doing its share to bring the Bruce Highway up to standard as soon as possible.”

Mr Truss, who led a posse of Coalition MPs on a drive of the entire Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns over five days in July, said as Minister he would make the Bruce Highway upgrade a national priority.

“Fixing the Bruce Highway must be above Mr Albanese’s petty politics,” he said. “Earlier this year AusRAP highlighted that the 1,677km of the Bruce accounts for 1-in-6 deaths on the national highway network.

“The route, which is the main arterial servicing communities and businesses between north and south Queensland, is routinely cut-off due to flooding at up to 33 sites.

“At Rockhampton alone critical supplies to and from central and north Queensland can be stalled for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, isolating over 700,000 Queenslanders.

“A 2011 study by the Centre for Environmental Management at the Central Queensland University estimated that the cost of road disruptions in Rockhampton due to flooding is $5.41 million per day. The study found that closures during the January 2011 floods cost the Rockhampton economy $35 million and the wider Queensland economy $45.7 million.

“The tragedy and aftermath of cyclone Yasi illustrated to all Australians the imperative for fixing the Bruce Highway. That such a vital highway is allowed to simply shutdown due to inclement weather and poses a danger to all who use it, is a disgrace.

“Flood-proofing the highway and creating more passing lanes are the two of the biggest issues in north Queensland - economically and in terms of driver safety.

“In partnership with the Queensland government, the Coalition is committed to getting the job done on the Bruce Highway once-and-for-all - that means funding it properly.”

[ENDS]

Media Contact: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6277 4482 or 0467 650 020 or brett.heffernan@aph.gov.au