North’s Bruce Hwy should be priority for upgrade: Katter
A NORTH Queensland politician says the Bruce Highway will be left to linger, while politicians focus on road between the Gold Coast and Brisbane for the next four years.
Traeger MP Robbie Katter said he might be a bit "cynical," but believes the LNP plan to fix the Bruce Hwy from Curra to Cairns, could be years away from the sod being turned.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington announced the 15 year plan to upgrade the highway if the party wins government, to the tune of $33bn, which includes a $50m blueprint to progressively separate the road into a modern dual carriageway.
Mr Katter said if it was $2b on upgrading the road over the next three years, it would be a much more believable promise.
"You can pardon me for being a little bit cynical in that it's easy to see a scenario where the M1 will get all the focus for the next four years of the parliamentary term, and we'll be, you know, waiting in a five and 10 for starting work," he said.
"We will have the business case done in four years and no work done on the Bruce Highway."
But the LNP says the planning funding will identify which spots on the highway will be upgraded first.
The project, which the LNP has said would be funded 20:80 with the federal government, will not start in the south and work its way north but address upgrades on a needs-basis.
Townsville economist Colin Dwyer said the upgrade would deliver an enormous social and economic benefit.
"This project has the ingredients to succeed with low cost borrowing, indeed it costs the state less than the inefficient Cross River Rail," Mr Dwyer said.
"Socially it improves safety standards on a risky road saving lives, it will reduce accidents that cause expensive life changing injuries and starts to standardise safety on eastern seaboard transport facilities that builds communities.
"We want, and deserve, the same safety standards as other Aussies.
"Economically it improves road travel tourism, improves industrial transport efficiency, reduces flood interruptions on vital food supply and improves competitive advantages on a vital supply chain facility."
Federal Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said this part of the Bruce Highway desperately needed to be upgraded.
Mr Thompson said he would speak to leader Deb Frecklington about what a potential state LNP government would have budgeted for and what the federal government would need to chip in.
"This is something I would support and take to the roads Minister," Mr Thompson said.
Transport and Main Roads has 35 items listed under its Bruce Highway Upgrade Program
Originally published as North's Bruce Hwy should be priority for upgrade: Katter