Deputy PM tours Cunningham Hwy upgrade site to lobby Bailey
AUSTRALIA'S Deputy Prime Minister has toured the interchange at the centre of $340 million project to upgrade the Cunningham Highway.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud visited the area with Member for Wright Scott Buchholz and Senator Amanda Stoker on Saturday morning.
In the Federal Budget $170 million was committed to upgrade the Cunningham Highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek, including the upgrade of key intersections at Yamanto and Amberley.
"The Liberal and Nationals Government has delivered a Budget which really delivers for Queenslanders by investing in the road and rail infrastructure the state needs to improve safety, bust congestion and cut costs for businesses by boosting freight efficiency, with $5.2 billion worth of new infrastructure projects," Mr McCormack said.
Member for Wright Scott Buchholz said further investments in roads help people get home sooner and safer.
"This is a vital investment, as the Cunningham Highway has the third-highest crash risk of any major Queensland road, with 17 fatalities between 2006 and 2014 alone," he said.
"The Federal Government is determined to invest in the route to drive those tragic figures down.
"Such safety improvements could include safety barriers, better right-turn lanes at the intersections, wider centrelines for safer separation of opposing traffic and overtaking lanes."
But the upgrade is not guaranteed, with the State Government yet to commit funding for the project.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the highway was part of the National Land Transport Network, primarily funded by the Australian Government.
"It should be funded on an 80-20 (federal-state) basis," he said last week.
"The Turnbull Government has said that regional roads get 80-20 federal-state funding and urban roads are funded 50-50.
"This part of the Cunningham Highway is clearly not urban in nature."
Coalition Senator for Queensland Amanda Stoker said the highway was an important freight link, and investment in the higher-capacity route would support regional industries.
"The region west of Brisbane is the centre of major economic and defence-related developments, while these upgrades also promise to improve connections between residential and industrial growth areas," she said.
"Improving the capacity of the Cunningham Highway will help the route meet the needs of regional freight and commercial traffic, supporting job creation and investment in regional Queensland."