BHP demands action to upgrade route for trucks

Mining giant BHP Billiton claims road near its mine in northwest Queensland needs upgrade after multiple truck crashes

By Brad Gardner | June 18, 2010

Mining giant BHP Billiton has written to the Rudd Government demanding an upgrade to a route near its mining site in Queensland after multiple truck crashes.

BHP’s Robert Fulker from Cannington Mine claims a section of the Landsborough Highway is "a significant hazard to all motorists".

He says the condition of the road played a major role in a Toll North truck crashing near McKinlay in February this year, while two trucks collided on the same stretch of road on October 28, 2006.

Fulker says BHP and Toll researched road conditions near the site following the February incident.

"The research indicates that a zone from Nora Creek (11km north of McKinlay) through to Bull Creek (25km north of McKinlay) is highly dangerous," the letter reads.

"It is our belief that this area represents a significant risk to all motorists using the road and that an urgent upgrade is required."

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says BHP’s letter proves the need for the Rudd Government’s planned regional infrastructure fund.

The fund is designed to upgrade infrastructure in mining resource regions, but is contingent on the Government passing its super profits tax.

Under the plan, which is opposed by the mining sector, the Federal Government will contribute 40 percent of the investment cost of a project and impose a 40 percent tax once the project reaches a profit threshold from July 2012.

The Government originally announced it would allocate tax revenue to a $5.6 billion fund to fix infrastructure bottlenecks in resource regions, but increased it to $6 billion.

"If anyone was in any doubt whatsoever about the need to make sure we are in a position to invest in infrastructure in those regional mining communities, this letter says it all, in the words of BHP Billiton," Albanese says.

"It goes to the heart of both infrastructure need and the government’s plan to address that infrastructure need."

The Government will make annual contributions to the fund, which will start at $700 million when it is introduced in 2012.

The Coalition opposes the profits tax and has vowed to rescind it in government if it is passed.

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