The Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed North Queenslanders with its go-slow approach to upgrading the Bruce Highway, cutting funding and delaying important work on the project until next decade.
Despite promising in the 2013 that it would “fix’’ the Bruce Highway, the Coalition has slowed down the work program it inherited from the former Labor Government, delaying the expenditure of at least half of its Bruce Highway Budget until after 2019-20.
On top of this, in the 2015 Budget the Coalition cut funding by $143 million over what it had announced 12 months earlier.
The Coalition’s record is woeful compared with that of the former Labor Government, which invested $5.7 billion in the Bruce over six years, dwarfing the $1.3 billion spent by the former Howard Coalition Government over nearly 12 years.
Labor delivered four times the investment in half the time as the Howard Government and over the past three years the Abbott-Turnbull Government has returned to go-slow mode while continuing to pretend otherwise.
Indeed, the Bruce Highway has been a frequent stop on the Government’s ongoing Magical Infrastructure Re-announcement Tour, in which it has shamelessly re-announced projects funded in budgets of the former Labor Government to conceal its inaction.
Despite having been in office for nearly three years, the Coalition has not invested a single dollar beyond that allocated by the former Labor Government.
The Bruce Highway is Queensland’s most important piece of road infrastructure and is central to the movement of freight and people up and down its coast.
Its upgrading should be seen as a national economic priority.
More importantly, the upgrade is also vital for road safety, with the Australian Automobile Association listing the Bruce Highway as one of the most dangerous roads in the country.