DETAILS: Plan unveiled for ‘second Bruce Hwy’ through Roma
ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk has announced a bold new, multi-billion dollar infrastructure project that could not only transform Queensland, but the southwest forever.
Posting on social media earlier this morning, the premier announced plans for a 'second Bruce Highway' that would run through southwest towns like Mungindi, St George, Roma and Injune.
The new inland highway would run from Charters Towers, 136km west of Townsville, south through to Clermont and Emerald, onto Roma and meeting the New South Wales border at Mungindi.
This announcement comes three weeks after the Liberal National Party announced their $30 billion plan to double-lane the existing Bruce Highway from Gympie to Cairns.
Part of Labor's plan also commits to building on the existing $12.6 billion jointly-funded Bruce Highway partnership with the Federal Government supporting 2500 jobs, with an additional $500 million for priority upgrades between Proserpine and Gladstone.
Regional communities will also have a say in how funding is prioritised, with six new representatives from regional Queensland to be added to the Bruce Highway Trust.
Touring the $514 million Bruce Highway upgrade at the Haughton River south of Townsville, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 33 projects are underway on the Bruce Highway.
"Since 2015, we've delivered $3.7 billion in Bruce upgrades, supporting thousands of regional jobs," the she said.
"If re-elected, my government will continue to increase the annual investment in Bruce Highway upgrades to almost $2 billion by 2023.
"We'll also build on our existing $125 million partnership with the Federal Government to improve the inland Townsville to Roma corridor by committing $200 million for the 'Second Bruce' to take trucks off the Bruce Highway."
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said Labor will commit $200 million to inland road and bridge upgrades between Townsville and Roma to support freight moving on the Second Bruce.
"Encouraging trucks to head inland means less trucks heading through local communities along the highway, from Gympie to Townsville," Mr Stewart said.
"Transport industry modelling has estimated trucks travelling between Far North Queensland and Melbourne on upgraded inland highways could save up to five hours on a single one-way trip."
Benefits of the new inland highway include:
- Reducing truck movements on the existing Bruce Highway up to 49 per cent, according to the Queensland Transport Logistics Council
- Cutting freight travel times between North Queensland and key markets in Sydney and Melbourne
- Upgrading inland highway bridges to suit larger vehicle combinations
- Prioritising maintenance and highway upgrades to meet heavy haulage standards
- Offering a reliable alternate freight connection to access regional and remote communities cut off by natural disasters
- Generating new regional jobs at food, accommodation and rest stop businesses to meet demand from increased inland truck movements.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Labor has a plan for economic recovery to create jobs across Queensland.
"The Palaszczuk Labor Government's strong action on the border has meant construction on major Bruce Highway upgrades have continued without any site shutdowns like we've seen in other parts of Australia and around the world," Mr Bailey said.
"The LNP has more than $26 billion in unfunded election promises and has committed to delivering a surplus without borrowing any more money."