DAY 2 of the Federal election campaign and the Coalition has reconfirmed its commitment to Fixing the Bruce, with Nationals Leader and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Warren Truss and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch today inspecting Stage 3 of the Cairns Southern Access upgrade that forms part of the $10 billion, ten-year works program.
While both the Coalition and Labor have committed to fund Stage 2 works worth $58m, only the Coalition has committed to fund the $135m Cairns Southern Access Corridor Stage 3 creating six lanes from Kate St to Aumuller St and the $481m Edmonton to Gordonvale duplication. The Coalition will also ensure that Stage 1, the Ray Jones Overpass, is completed, requiring a further $21m.
“This is the most comprehensive works program announced so far and will be very significant for Cairns,” Mr Entsch said today. “We have a growing population and the current state of the highway is creating major issues for local residents, visitors and commercial traffic.
“This is not a ‘pie in the sky’ plan, it is a real works program. We want to move quickly and people can be assured that a Coalition government won’t play the blame game with the State Government we will work with the LNP State Government to make this happen.”
The Fix the Bruce Policy recently released by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Mr Truss means an investment of $10b from the Coalition, partnering with the Queensland Government to upgrade the Bruce Highway.
“This is $2.6 billion more than Federal Labor’s inadequate commitment to this nationally significant Road,” Mr Truss said.
It was just twelve months ago that a group of Coalition MPs including Mr Truss and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport Darren Chester, drove the entire Bruce Highway to take a first-hand look at what the priority projects should be.
“We experienced many of the issues relating to the Gordonvale to Edmonton section and the need for widening of the Southern Access Corridor, before meeting Warren Entsch in Cairns to launch the Fix the Bruce campaign,” Mr Truss said.
“Today, a year later, we’re very pleased to be able to say that the Coalition will fund almost $700m in major projects in the Cairns region, more than $600m of which Labor has not committed to.
“In partnership with the LNP State Government, this $10 billion in works is going to make a massive difference and will bring the Bruce Highway into the 21st century.”
Mr Truss and Mr Entsch walk the Stage 3 site near Aumuller St.
Mr Entsch said the Coalition’s commitment of an extra $2.6 billion gave Far Northerners who use the Bruce Highway a clear choice on September 7.
“We all know how frustrating it is when supermarket shelves are empty and travel disrupted due to road closures and flooding on the highway to the south,” he said.
“And when one in every six deaths on the entire national road network occurs on the Bruce, it’s unacceptable.
“Fixing the Bruce is a key part of the Coalition’s plan to build a strong, prosperous economy and I’ll continue to work with Warren Truss and Tony Abbott to make sure this happens.”