DRONE: Bruce Highway upgrade at the Sunshine Motorway onramp.
DRONE: Bruce Highway upgrade at the Sunshine Motorway onramp. Patrick Woods

No federal boost for one of Australia's most important roads

THE Palaszczuk Government is calling on the Morrison Government to boost federal Bruce Highway funding to improve road safety and support regional jobs.

The Premier will go armed with a list of key shovel-ready job-creating projects that need urgent funding when she meets the Prime Minister at COAG in Cairns this week.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the Bruce Highway was one of the most important stretches of road in Australia but the Morrison Government was yet to commit to boosting funding for it.

"The Bruce is the backbone of our state, connecting millions of Queenslanders and supporting regional economies with freight and business transport," Mr Bailey said.

"Under a longstanding 80:20 funding agreement with the Federal Government, we've got important projects under construction right now, supporting jobs regionally, including Stage 1 of the Mackay Ring Road, the Haughton River upgrade south of Townsville and the Cairns Southern Access project.

"We can do so much more, that's why we're asking for the Federal Government to commit to a new deal which would lock in a $1 billion a year to support major upgrades over the next decade, overseen by the Bruce Highway Trust.

"To make that happen, he Morrison Government needs to increase its current annual commitment to the Bruce Highway from an average of $666 million a year to $800 million a year."

Minister Bailey called on the Federal Government to sign up to the Bruce Highway Trust, a 15-year vision with five-year action plans on Bruce Highway upgrades.

"Bruce funding doesn't need to be a political football and that's why we committed to set up the Bruce Highway Trust," he said.

Minister Bailey said funding certainty was needed to support Queensland's population growth.

"This funding allows us to target areas where we know crashes happen by building overtaking lanes, turning lanes or installing safety barriers or wider centre lines," he said.

"It also supports larger infrastructure upgrades like ring roads, so we can take trucks off local roads and duplicate sections of the highway to fix traffic bottlenecks and improve freight efficiency."

Mr Bailey said Bruce Highway projects like the Cooroy to Curra upgrade to bypass Gympie, the Rockhampton Ring Road and Townsville Ring Road Stage 5 were good examples of jointly-funded upgrades which were currently being progressed.

"These projects will make a massive difference to road safety, make the highway more flood resilient and improve traffic flow for those communities," Mr Bailey said.

"They are great examples of our partnership with the Federal Government at work to make a difference for Queenslanders and we want to see that continue and grow."

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