The Palaszczuk Government has renewed its calls for the Morrison Government to boost federal Bruce Highway funding.
Inspecting progress on the Haughton River upgrade on the Bruce Highway south of Townsville yesterday, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the project was a good example of what could be achieved with a secure funding deal.
“This is the biggest road upgrade happening in North Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
“There will be 544 people with decent jobs during construction, and 90 per cent of the workers so far inducted on-site are local to the Townsville region.
“Major roads investments like the Haughton upgrade mean work for Queenslanders – $1.9 billion has flowed to Queensland businesses in the past 12 months through the purchase of goods and services via the Department of Transport and Main Roads.”
Mr Bailey called on the Morrison Government to sign up to the Bruce Highway Trust, a 15-year vision with five-year action plans on Bruce Highway upgrades.
“The Bruce connects millions of Queenslanders and supports regional economies with freight and business transport,” Mr Bailey said.
“The 80/20 funding arrangement we have in place with the Federal Government has supported Bruce Highway upgrades between Cairns and Caboolture.
“These upgrades make the Bruce Highway safer, less congested and more flood resilient.
“The Townsville region has enjoyed the benefits of this arrangement, with the $118 million Cattle and France Creek upgrade completed in the past 12 months and works north of Townsville at Bluewater starting soon.
“They are great examples of our partnership with the Federal Government at work to make a difference for Queenslanders and we want to see that continue and grow.
“We can do so much more across Queensland, so that’s why we’re asking for the Federal Government to commit to a deal which would lock in $1 billion a year to support major upgrades over the next decade, overseen by the Bruce Highway Trust.
“To make that happen, the Morrison Government needs to increase its current annual Bruce Highway commitment from an average of $666 million a year to $800 million a year.
“That means more money to build overtaking lanes, turning lanes or install safety barriers or wider centre lines.
“It also means bigger bypass projects to take trucks off local roads and duplicate sections of the highway to fix traffic bottlenecks and improve freight efficiency.”
Video interview with Minister Bailey and overlay from the Haughton River upgrade construction site available here.