Feds urged to fund inland route

RACQ has renewed calls to fast-track Bruce Highway safety capacity and flood immunity projects, as well as Federal Government funding for the Inland Highway, after it was once again cut by recent flood waters.

The Townsville Bulletin reported Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack assured north Queensland transport officials there was $10 billion allocated the Bruce Highway and said the Commonwealth was committed to working with the State Government.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said recent flooding, which cut the Bruce Highway in several places between Cairns and Mackay, was further proof a solution was necessary.

“The Bruce Highway is the backbone of Queensland, serving a population of more than 1.2 million people as either a local road, tourism highway or as the main freight route for the State,” Dr Michael said.

“After Christmas, we saw how a major rain event, which is common in Queensland, can easily bring the Bruce to a standstill and impact northern communities.”

Dr Michael said the Queensland Government had committed $200 million to an Inland Highway alternative from Charters Towers to Mungindi during the State Election but the project hinged on another $800 million from the Federal Government.

“We’ve included this project again on our Federal pre-budget submission wish list,” she said.

“What the State needs is to get moving on an alternate inland route to the Bruce Highway, to provide a productive, flood resilient freight network between south west Queensland and the north.

“We’d urge the Federal Government come to the table and give regional Queenslanders the road network they deserve.”