Jul 17, 2013

Tony Abbott’s Bruce Highway “Promise”: Too little, too late

I welcome Tony Abbott and the LNP’s belated interest in the Bruce Highway.

It’s just a pity they couldn’t be bothered “fixing” it the last time they were in government, even though the current Leader of the Nationals Warren Truss was their Transport Minister.

In fact they slashed the Federal roads budget by $2 billion.

Now they expect us to believe that given a second chance they will do the job right.  They must think we’re all mugs.

A closer look at Mr Abbott’s numbers also reveals that they actually plan to spend less on the Highway over the next four years than what we have already put into the Budget.  Most of their funding is on the never-never.

And how can anyone put any faith in this latest “promise” from Mr Abbott given that he – like Campbell Newman before him – plans to establish to a ‘commission of cuts’ to review all areas of government spending, including infrastructure.

I think political parties should be judged on what they deliver in government – and when it comes to the Bruce, the LNP only ever cares about this road when they’re in opposition but just as quickly ignore it once they are elected to office.

By comparison, Federal Labor’s commitment to the Bruce Highway currently stands at an unprecedented $5.7 billion – more than four times what the Howard Government spent over a similar period of time (i.e. $1.3 billion).

That’s real money for real projects that are making a real difference.

As recent history has shown, Federal Labor always delivers more than the LNP.

BRUCE HIGHWAY UPGRADE: STATUS REPORT 

PROJECTS COMMITTED TO AND COMPLETED BY THIS FEDERAL LABOR GOVERNMENT:

  • Duplication of the Douglas Arterial (Townsville);
  • Upgrade of the southern approaches to Sarina;
  • Construction of a new, higher bridge over the Isis River;
  • Duplication of Section B between Cooroy and Curra;
  • Resurfacing of the Nambour Bypass;
  • Elimination of 63 notorious black spots;
  • 12 new and upgraded rest stops; and
  • Construction of 11 additional overtaking lanes.

PROJECTS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY:

  • Construction of a new interchange at the intersection between the Bruce and Dawson Highways, the Calliope Crossroads near Gladstone;
  • Upgrade of the intersection between the Bruce and Capricorn highways (Yeppen roundabout);
  • Upgrade of the southern approach to Mackay;
  • Flattening and straightening the Bruce Highway over the Cardwell Range;
  • Projects associated with the Burdekin Road Safety Audit including the upgrade of intersections along Edward Street in Ayr between Queen Street and Jones Street and construction of two new overtaking lanes south of Home Hill;
  • Upgrade of the southern approach to Cairns;
  • Strengthening the bridge over the Burdekin Bridge;
  • Straightening and widening the Bruce Highway from Cabbage Tree Creek to Carman Road, and across Back Creek Range;
  • Straightening the Bruce Highway just south of Gin Gin and upgrading the intersection with the Bundaberg-Gin Gin Road;
  • Straightening and raising the Bruce Highway between Sandy Corner and Collinsons Lagoon;
  • Upgrading the Pumicestone Road interchange including the construction of a new higher overpass over Bruce Highway;
  • Duplication of the Bruce Highway between the Cooroy South interchange and Sankeys Road (also known as Section A).

FUTURE PROJECTS TO WHICH FUNDING HAS BEEN COMMITTED:

  • Yeppen South Floodplain Upgrade;
  • Mackay Northern Access upgrade;
  • Mackay Ring Road — finalise planning and build;
  • Rockhampton Northern Access Corridor — Yeppoon Road to Boundary Road;
  • North Queensland Flood Immunity Package;
  • Caloundra Rd to Sunshine Motorway — Stage 1;
  • Gateway Motorway to Caboolture — Managed Motorways;
  • Pavement widening: St Lawrence to Bowen;
  • Cairns Southern Access Corridor – widening between Robert Rd to Foster Rd;
  • Bruce Highway – South of Home Hill to North of Ingham;
  • Cooroy to Curra Section C & D;
  • Bruce Highway Black Spots;
  • Bruce Highway Overtaking Lanes.