Abbott commits $6.7bn to Bruce Hwy over 10 years

Federal Opposition leader says a Coalition government will pump $6.7 billion into Queensland's Bruce Highway

July 17, 2013

The federal Coalition has committed to investing $6.7 billion over 10 years in Queensland’s Bruce Highway if it wins office.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced the commitment today, but most of the funding for the route will come after 2017.

Abbott says $2.1 billion will be spent over the next four years and a further $4.6 billion over the following six years.

The money will go toward completing initiatives already underway, such as the Townsville Ring Road and Mackay Ring Road projects, the duplication of the Cooroy to Curra section and the Caboolture to Caloundra upgrade.

Abbott says funds will also go to new projects such as planning for a bypass of Rockhampton, duplicating the highway from Edmonton to Gordonvale and undertaking flood immunity works at Tiaro.

"As the primary road link between Cairns and Brisbane, the 1,700km Bruce Highway connects the major regional communities of Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Maryborough and the Sunshine Coast," Abbott says.

"Our policy to fix the Bruce Highway includes almost 70 major projects over the next 10 years."

Abbott says the Coalition will strike an 80-20 funding split with the Queensland Government, which has welcomed the funding pledge.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson says the State will kick in $2.1 billion and that the money will deliver improved safety, capacity and flood mitigation on the Bruce Highway.

"This will include additional lanes on the Sunshine Coast, construction of the Mackay Ring Road, duplication south of Cairns and key projects near Rockhampton," he says.

"There will also be crucial safety measure including wider centre lines, audible edge lines, more overtaking lanes and intersection upgrades."

The Federal Government, which plans to spend $5.7 billion over 10 years, welcomed Abbott’s announcement but took aim at the previous federal Coalition Government’s approach to infrastructure investment.

"In fact they slashed the federal roads budget by $2 billion," Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says.

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

"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 (ie $1.3 billion)."

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