May 10, 2011

A Better And Safer Bruce Highway

A Better and Safer Bruce Highway

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Federal Member for Grayndler

May 10 2011

The Gillard Labor Government has reaffirmed its commitment to building a better, safer Bruce Highway, with the 2011-12 Budget reinstating five previously deferred upgrades as well as providing $210 million in new money to undertake three additional projects.

Under Labor, Federal investment in this road now stands at an unprecedented $2.8 billion over seven years. This compares to the former Howard Government’s record of just $1.2 billion over twelve years.

See attached map for all of the Gillard Labor Government’s Bruce Highway projects.

Firstly, using savings from within the existing Nation Building Program, we’ve reinstated the five Bruce Highway projects deferred as part of our initial response to Queensland’s unprecedented string of natural disasters – see attached map.

Those projects are:

• Duplicating the Highway between Vantassel Street and Flinders Highway – Federal contribution: $110 million;

• Realigning and raising the Highway between Sandy Corner and Collinsons Lagoon – Federal contribution: $50 million;

• Safety improvements at the Burdekin Road intersection – Federal contribution: $25 million;

• Realigning the Highway north of Gin Gin between Cabbage Tree Creek and Carmen Road as well as at Back Creek Range to provide a wider road surface on flatter grades – Federal contribution: $100 million;

• Upgrading the interchanges along the Highway between Caboolture and Caloundra – Federal contribution: $195 million.

We took this decision after receiving advice from Queensland authorities that they had the capacity to complete both the reconstruction activities while at the same time deliver the upgrades vital to making the Bruce Highway a better, safer road over the longer term.

Secondly, the 2011-12 Budget provides new funding to begin work within the next twelve months on the following election commitments:

• Undertaking the Mackay Ring Road Study – Federal contribution: $10 million;

• Building the remaining section of the Townsville Ring Road (Section 4) – Federal contribution: $160 million;

• Upgrading the intersection between the Bruce and Capricorn Highways – Federal contribution: $40 million.

Amongst the previously announced and scheduled upgrades, work will begin over the next twelve months on realigning and widening the highway through Cairns’ southern suburbs between Ray Jones Drive and Sheehy Road – Federal contribution: $150 million.

At the other end of the construction cycle, the following upgrades are due to be completed during the coming financial year:

• Upgrading and straightening the highway heading south out of Sarina – Federal contribution: $10 million;

• Erecting a new wider and higher bridge over the Isis River as well as straightening and upgrading the approaches to it – Federal contribution: $25 million;

• Reconstruction works on the Nambour Bypass section of the highway – Federal contribution: $35 million.

Our fourth budget also continues the rollout of the first ever program dedicated to fixing dangerous black spots, providing more overtaking opportunities and improving driving conditions along this road.

Already our $250 million Bruce Highway Safety Package is:

• Installing 50 new overtaking lanes;

• Fixing over 80 dangerous black spots;

• Building some 25 new rest areas and stopping places as well as upgrading a significant number of existing rest areas;

• Laying audible edge line markings.

Federal Labor has long recognised the Bruce Highway’s importance to the communities living up and down the Queensland coast.

While progress over the last three years has been substantial, we’ve always said it would take more than one or two parliamentary terms to fix the years of neglect. For this reason, we will continue delivering the funding and long term planning necessary to build a Bruce Highway which supports rather than hinders Queensland’s rapid growth.