The Queensland Government will deliver $768 million of improvements to the Bruce Highway over the next year as part of our strong plan for a brighter future.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said being able to fund major infrastructure projects was one of the key reasons the Government had made the strongest and smartest choice to pay down some of the State’s $80 billion debt.
“The 2014-15 State Budget is a careful balance of increases in spending for vital infrastructure projects and frontline services without the need to raise or introduce new taxes,” Mr Nicholls said.
“But to sustainably invest in the infrastructure we’ll need as our state grows we will have to bring Queensland’s debt down to a more sustainable level.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the record package for the Bruce Highway would be part of the 2014-15 to 2017-18 Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP).
“We are now spending twice as much on the Bruce Highway compared with previous Labor governments who chose to ignore this 1700km lifeline,” Mr Emerson said.
“The upcoming program will start delivering our record $10 billion, 10-year deal with the Commonwealth Government to fund safety, flood mitigation and capacity works right across the Bruce Highway and the Gateway Motorway. “This year’s QTRIP will detail new works commencing on the Bruce Highway over the next four years, including:
- Cooroy to Curra, Section C between Traveston and Keefton Roads
- Mackay Ring Road, Stage 1
- Two new interchanges (Sunshine Motorway and Caloundra Road) and adjoining service roads in advance of future 6-laning works
- Extension of 6-laning between Foster Road and Robert Road, south of Cairns
“We are also continuing to deliver other major upgrades of the Bruce Highway, including Cooroy to Curra Section A, Townsville Ring Road Stage 4, Yeppen Floodplain South, and providing four-laning capacity between Vantassel and Cluden, in Townsville.
“The Bruce Highway funding includes $188 million of state funding in 2014-15, as we deliver our election promise to deliver an additional $1 billion over 10 years.” Funding has also been confirmed for the Gateway Upgrade North, Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the Warrego Highway Upgrade between Toowoomba and Miles.
Mr Emerson said $130 million had been allocated in 2014-15 to complete repairs to the $150 million of damage from natural disaster events across the state in early 2014, including ex-Tropical Cyclone Ita. “This year we will deliver almost $2 billion in disaster recovery work in a fast tracked effort to get regional communities back up and running,” he said.
Mr Emerson said this budget saw the Queensland Government’s continued investment in rail infrastructure.
“In 2014-15 we are investing $28.7 million towards construction of the third and fourth tracks between Lawnton and Petrie and $25.4 million for the New Generation Rolling Stock project that will deliver 75 new six-car trains,” he said.
Mr Nicholls said the new trains would be delivered at a saving of more than $11 million per train compared to prices achieved by the previous government.
“This project demonstrates the Government’s commitment to revitalise frontline services for Queenslanders as we promised at the election,” he said.
Mr Emerson said the budget showed public transport patronage was ahead of its target, with 176.7 million trips taken in 2013-14, more than 1 million additional trips than in the previous year. “This growth is a positive sign that our plan is working,” he said “In contrast to our efforts to improve affordability, Labor has already said it would scrap free travel after nine weekly journeys, hitting more than 70,000 regular weekday passengers. “Fixing affordability is the final plank of our plan to get people back on to public transport. “We’ve already taken train reliability from a three-year low to an all-time high and added more than 1,000 additional weekly train and 2,000 additional weekly bus services.”