Jun 3, 2013

Federal Labor and the Bruce Highway Upgrade – Letter to the Editor – Townsville Bulletin

I write in response to the recent comments from LNP politicians, including Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson regarding Federal investment in the Bruce Highway.

In April this Federal Labor Government released a plan for a better, safer Bruce Highway.  The Queensland Government asked for $4 billion spread over ten years for a range of priority upgrades; we agreed to provide $4.1 billion.

In response, the State’s peak motoring body, the RACQ, called it a “significant announcement” and “a breakthrough after decades of campaigning for a game changing increase in funding for the Bruce.”

But importantly, this funding adds to the investment we have already made since being first elected in 2007, taking Federal Labor’s total commitment to the Highway to an unprecedented $5.7 billion.

We are providing real money for real projects that will make a real difference.

Unfortunately, the LNP’s carping and relentless negativity rolls on unabated, particularly shameless conduct given they haven’t got a Bruce Highway policy of their own.

What’s more, if Mr Emerson and LNP colleagues genuinely think current funding levels are inadequate then they must have been beside themselves with rage during the period of the Howard Government.  Indeed, so far we’ve committed more than four times what they spent on this Highway during their 12 long years in office.

And already we have completed an extensive package of works, including: duplicating the Douglas Arterial; upgrading the southern approaches to Sarina; erecting a new, higher bridge over the Isis River; duplicating Section A between Cooroy and Curra; resurfacing the Nambour Bypass; eliminating 63 notorious black spots; building 12 new and upgraded rest stops; and installing 11 additional overtaking lanes.

All these projects were promised, funded and delivered by this Federal Labor Government.

So my question to the LNP is a simple one: why were none of these much needed and long talked about projects completed during the twelve long years of the Howard Government?  After all, they were the highest taxing government in our nation’s history and the current Leader of the National Party Warren Truss was its transport minister.

It’s because they only care about this road when they’re in opposition but just as quickly ignore it once they’re elected to office and have control of the roads budget.  As recent history has shown, Federal Labor always delivers more for the Bruce Highway than the LNP.