After 4½ years in opposition and a five day road trip, Queenslanders are still none the wiser about how the LNP would “fix the Bruce”, let alone pay for their promise of extra funding over and above the record amount Federal Labor is already investing in this vital road.
We’ve certainly heard a lot of big talk but no positive, fully-costed plan for the future.
Adding another element of un-believability to their promises, Nationals Leader Warren Truss appears totally ignorant of the fact that a significant proportion of the work planned for the Highway is to be funded by the very mining tax Tony Abbott has pledged to scrap.
Indeed, when the LNP’s convoy of deception rolled into Rockhampton Mr Truss went so far as to claim:
“The mining tax is not going to contribute much to the funding of the Bruce Highway.”
4RO – 17 JULY 2012
Not true. Already money from our new mining tax funded Regional Infrastructure Fund has been earmarked for a number of Bruce Highway projects: completing the Townsville Ring Road, upgrading the intersection between the Bruce and Capricorn highways and undertaking the planning work on the proposed bypass of Mackay.
All up, these projects are worth some $210 million. In anyone’s language that’s a lot of money, and the LNP wants to take it all back so they can give Gina Reinhart, Clive Palmer and the big multinational mining companies a massive $10 billion tax cut.
The LNP now needs to find the money to pay for not only their promises to “drastically increase funding” for the Highway but also to complete all the projects in the current capital works program – and then of course there’s the existing $70 billion plus black hole in their costings.
No wonder Mr Truss has only received a “lukewarm” response from the Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey who hasn’t agreed to provide even one new dollar of funding to the Bruce.
The LNP’s road trip may be over but for Queenslanders the joyride continues.
The LNP & The Bruce: Big talk; even bigger promises
“The Coalition would drastically increase funding to improve the Bruce Highway…”
ABC SUNSHINE & COOLOOLA – 17 JULY 2012
“Under the funding formula the Commonwealth would normally be expected to provide four dollars for each one provided by the state so that means potentially $5 billion extra for the Bruce Highway over the next 10 years.
“We need more passing lanes, we need a higher quality surface and in some places we’ll need longer periods of four-laning, city bypasses and the like…”
ABC NORTH QUEENSLAND – 18 JULY 2012
“[Fixing the Highway] is going to mean billions of dollars’ worth of expenditure and we need to be ready to make that kind of commitment.”
MORNING BULLETIN (ROCKHAMPTON) – 18 JULY 2012
“My commitment is that we will do what it takes to fix the Bruce – and that means projects to fix these problems within 12 months of the election of an Abbott/Truss Federal government.”
TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN – 18 JULY 2012
“…we think this (fixing the Bruce) is a priority and it’s something we’re determined to fund the necessary money to fund.”
ABC CAPRICORNIA – 19 JULY 2012
“You know, they’ve allocated almost $4 billion to the Pacific Highway… So, when that bucket of money is topped up again … in 2014, it will have to be the Bruce Highway’s turn to get a fair share out of that.
“In 2014, I would expect that from then on for a number of years we will see the Bruce Highway getting the lion’s share of [Federal road] funding.”
ABC NORTH QUEENSLAND – 19 JULY 2012
Bruce Highway: Investment Program
Total length of highway: 1,700 kilometres
Historically (1996/97 – 2007/08):
Howard Coalition Government: $1.3 billion
QLD Government: $471 million
SO FAR COMMITTED (2008/09 – 2014/15):
Federal Labor Government: $2.8 billion
QLD Government: $412 million
Compared to the former Howard Government’s record, Federal Labor is investing more than twice as much in half the time.
This financial year alone we’re providing $488 million and right now there are hundreds of workers onsite upgrading 158 kilometres of the Highway.
In addition to major upgrades to key sections, we’re also:
- Installing 52 new overtaking lanes;
- Fixing 100 dangerous black spots; and
- Building some 20 new rest areas and upgrading a further 9 existing rest areas.
While our progress has been substantial, we’ve always said it would take more than one or two terms to put right more than a decade of neglect.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.