Multi-million dollar pledge to improve key part of Bruce Hwy
PLANNING for a four lane Bruce Highway between Rockhampton and Gladstone has joined the list of commitments from a hypothetical 2019 Labor government.
Labor candidates from the two electorates that would share the project, Capricornia's Russell Robertson and Flynn's Zac Beers were joined by the Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers to announce $2.1 million towards planning the duplication of the busy stretch.
"We're making sure we get the priorities right in the stretch between Rockhampton and Gladstone, whether that means doubling from two to four lanes or getting the overtaking lanes right, all of these priorities need to be determined so we can get on with investing in this part of the Bruce Highway,” Mr Chalmers said.
He said the planning was the first step towards further funding to break ground on the duplication but was confident planning would yield results.
"You don't do the planning if you have no intention of improving the road so we will see what the planning process says,” he said.
Mr Robertson said the four lanes between the two cities would be great for business, driver safety and the communities more broadly.
"This is going to really unlock Capricornia and Flynn,” he said.
"We know if we continue this duplication of the 108 kilometres of road, it will reduce the strains and stresses on the Capricornia and Flynn electorates and we will see increased commerce.”
Mr Beers echoed the sentiment of the Capricornia candidate and said it was "critical” that people had quick and easy access between Rockhampton and Gladstone.
"It will make it easier to access services and make it more efficient for businesses to grow and improve their ability to access different sectors of the economy,” he said.
"Anyone who travels this road will tell you that it is a road in desperate need of more investment.”
Mr Chalmers said the project was a matter of federal importance as he backed it with a multimillion dollar commitment.
"This is about making the Central Queensland economy more productive, making our roads safe and easing congestion.”
"Two lanes is a problem, there is not enough room for overtaking.”
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd, whose electorate covers the majority of the stretch was not convinced and said the Federal Government had already been spending big on the stretch.
"We have a program for $10billion over ten years for the whole Bruce Highway,” he said.
"We have just spent $32million between Rockhampton and Bajool.”
Mr Chalmers assured any upgrades to the Bruce Highway would be subject to the same procurement policies as the Rockhampton ring road project, which included the employment of local workers.