Feds must come to the party to unlock funding

Queensland Budget invests in Bruce Highway, but large slice of funding won't happen unless Federal Government commits more money

September 12, 2012

More than $400 million will be pumped into Queensland’s Bruce Highway this financial year, but the first instalment of a planned extra $1 billion investment in the route is not guaranteed.

The Queensland Budget, handed down yesterday, shows $415.6 million in federal and state funds will be spent in 2012-13 on upgrades to various sections of the highway in regions such as Townsville, Rockhampton, Gympie, Cairns, Mackay and Gin Gin.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls has set aside a further $200 million over four years for the route, with $10 million to be made available this financial year.

The extra funds are part of the Government’s plan to spend an extra $1 billion on the highway over 10 years. Queensland will follow through if the Federal Government matches the funding.

Budget papers show the Federal Government will need to provide $10 million in 2012-13 and in 2013-14, $80 million in 2014-15 and $100 million the following year for Queensland to spend $200 million over four years.

"The Government’s additional funding of $1 billion over 10 years to upgrade the Bruce Highway is locked and loaded. We look forward to the day when the Australian Government accepts its responsibilities. We are ready for a discussion for anywhere, anytime," Nicholls says.

"Where is the Federal Government when it comes to the Bruce Highway upgrades we so urgently need? Our money is on the table. Where is theirs?"

The Budget also allocates funds for projects on the Warrego Highway, while the New England, Capricorn, Peak Downs, Captain Cook, Landsborough and Flinders highways also received funding.

Along with the Federal Government, Queensland will spend $1.9 billion in 2012-13 on fixing and upgrading roads affected by severe flooding in 2010. Councils will receive $31.8 million in grants to upgrade local roads.

Nicholls says Queensland will have a $10.7 billion deficit this year, which includes $800 million in redundancy payments to the thousands of public servants the Government has sacked.

Nicholls expects the Budget to record a $17 million surplus in 2013-14 and a $652 million surplus the following year.

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