Aug 15, 2012

Driving down a safer Dukes Highway

The $100 million Dukes Highway Safety Upgrade is progressing on time and under budget with the savings to be used to deliver almost double the number of safety improvements than originally planned.

Dukes Highway is a crucial link between Adelaide and Melbourne and a nationally important road and freight corridor for Australian families and businesses.

More than 3,000 vehicles that use this road every day will experience improved safety and reduced travel times as a result of this upgrade.

While the project’s original scope was for 64 kilometres of safety barriers to be installed at 150 locations, good progress has meant we are now able to deliver an impressive 86 kilometres of safety barriers at 220 sites along the highway.

The new safety barriers will prevent vehicles from crossing onto the wrong side of the highway into the path of other vehicles.

We are also widening 90 kilometres of the highway, up from the original 50 kilometres to better separate vehicles travelling in both directions.

The Dukes Highway was first built in the 1800s as the main artery linking Melbourne to Adelaide.

The Federal Labor Government is making the biggest investment to date in this important road – providing $80 million for the safety upgrade.

We are only doing what Warren Truss should have done when he was the Federal Transport Minister. The Coalition had 12 years in office with record tax revenues and the only thing they ever did was leave this major national road to crumble.

Only yesterday Mr Truss confirmed again that Tony Abbott’s promise to duplicate the Dukes Highway is an empty one, telling local media:

“We’ve never put a timeframe on it but we will be working on it.”


And just last week we saw Tony Abbott’s promise to duplicate the Dukes Highway reduced to nothing more than an aspiration. During a driving tour of the Highway, Mr Truss admitted the full duplication was only “a long to medium term priority”, or to be precise, it’s a promise on the never-never.

The Liberal Party candidate for Barker Tony Pasin was even more candid, telling local TV news:

An aspirational goal of the Coalition is to see a four-lane purpose-built highway…”


You can’t drive on an aspiration.  Building infrastructure requires real money and real timelines, and Tony Abbott is offering neither.  This is not surprising given he already has a $70 billion plus black hole in his costings.

What the Coalition has shown once again is that they’re good at delivering stunts not action.