Labor rips LNP’s Bruce Hwy upgrade plan

 

LABOR has labelled the LNP's bold $33b plan to upgrade the Bruce Highway over 15 years as "smoke and mirrors" while one Far North mayor has praised the vision.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington on Sunday announced its plan to upgrade the highway from Cairns to near Gympie to four lanes if it wins October's election.

The Bruce Highway between Cairns and Townsville is prone to flooding during the wet season. PICTURE: Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland)
The Bruce Highway between Cairns and Townsville is prone to flooding during the wet season. PICTURE: Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland)

Ms Frecklington has promised $50m towards a case study and will commit $6.6bn while seeking $26.4bn from the federal government.

The project is forecast to create 100,000 jobs over its timeline. "With nearly 200,000 Queenslanders out of work, we need a major infrastructure stimulus package to drag Queensland out of recession," she said.

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has unveiled a bold plan to upgrade the Bruce Highway from Cairns to near Gympie to four lanes.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has unveiled a bold plan to upgrade the Bruce Highway from Cairns to near Gympie to four lanes.

Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said the announcement "meant very little" for his electorate with works on duplicating the highway between Edmonton and Gordonvale already starting.

"Clearly, the highway is a national one and needs an agreement between both governments … I've yet to see evidence of that in the LNP's announcement," Mr Pitt said.

However, Cassowary Coast Mayor Mark Nolan praised the plan, saying it was "nation building".

"This is what we need in the COVID-recovery phase," Cr Nolan said.

"I'm very excited about this announcement … it'd be a boost to our farming sector and the wider economy."

Mulgrave MP and Speaker of the House Curtis Pitt. Picture: Liam Kidston
Mulgrave MP and Speaker of the House Curtis Pitt. Picture: Liam Kidston

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"Flooding prevention would help us as a lot of produce can gets stuck for weeks." Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey, who days earlier revealed it could be decades before the upgrades could be achieved, said Ms Frecklington's announcement was "more smoke and mirrors".

"There is not one single new dollar going into the bitumen," Mr Bailey said. "Because she's got no federal commitment for additional funding."

The announcement comes after the RACQ released a wish on September 24.

"This duplication of the Bruce Highway would see huge improvements to safety, minimise flooding closures and help it cope with the large volumes of vehicles travelling it every day," RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael said.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto questioned where the funding would come from and the implications on small towns. "It'd be scaring the hell out of some of those small businesses," Mr Dametto said. "How are they going to attract people to turn off the super highway and visit those towns?"

Originally published as Labor rips LNP's Bruce Hwy upgrade plan


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