Qld election campaign sees focus on Bruce and Bruce 2


Both parties’ big spending major route pledges gain QTA thumbs up

Qld election campaign sees focus on Bruce and Bruce 2
Bruce Highway options are being canvassed

 

With telephone numbers worth of infrastructure cash promises flying around following the ‘anti-pandemic’ federal Budget, Canberra has gone cautious on the idea of a ‘second Bruce Highway’ and ignored a $33 billion multi-lane plan.

Emanating from Labor’s Queensland state election campaigning, the idea of an inland freight corridor has Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) backing, as has the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) proposal of multi-laning the Bruce Highway.    

Federal infrastructure and transport minister Michael McCormack says further details are sought on how and from where inland route would be funded.

"The Australian government has a strong $10 billion commitment to the existing Bruce Highway – money which is already allocated to several upgrades and projects," McCormack insists.

"That federal money has already been committed – it is for Queensland Labor to explain which part of the existing Bruce Highway it wants to rip money from to fund today’s thought bubble."

There is no mention of the much larger LNP proposal.

Both parties say they will look to 80-20 federal-state funding for these projects.

Labor is to seek $1 billion for a productivity-boosting project that would take trucks off the Bruce by providing an alternative, floodproof route "activating an improved Inland Freight Route from the NSW border to Charters Towers via Roma (1,184km)".

The LNP proposal is costed at $33 billion over 15 years, envisioning four lanes linking Cairns and Gympie.


Read about the QTA’s HVSI focus on health hearts, here


 The QTA believes both state pledges stand on their merits.

It notes Bruce 2 would achieve "the important ambition to specifically achieve access for AB triples at 42.5 metres for the full journey from Toowoomba to Townsville" while double-laning would have a huge safety dividend while taking more than 15 years and need significant federal funding.

"During the election campaign period, the QTA has continued to reinforce Queensland’s reliance on the road freight industry," QTA CEO Gary Mahon tells his members. 

"It has never been more profound due to the extensive and ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 economic crisis with disrupted global supply chains, simmering trade tensions and weaker demand.

"The opportunity must be taken to reduce road freight costs for the benefit of our economy and international competitiveness.

"Investment reform is urgently needed to boost the supply side of the economy to improve productivity and raise living standards.

Access for safer high productivity vehicles on key freight routes in Queensland is significantly limited particularly by bridge infrastructure requiring upgrades.

"These freight routes must be unlocked to increase the connectivity of key production areas, to export markets and ports in Queensland as a prominent example."   

Mahon says the QTA will continue to urge the next Queensland government "to direct more economic stimulus monies to essential key road assets to unlock efficiencies and connect key freight routes".

The association has six main election priorities:

  • Fund bridge investment
  • Upgrade the Bremer River bridge to boost the Toowoomba Bypass
  • Activate the inland freight route
  • Build a 'truck-way' from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane
  • Reduce the disincentive on toll road use
  • Fund heavy-vehicle wash-down facilities.

It explains the priorities more fully here.

 

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