Constituency Statement – Bruce Highway

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Mr PITT (Hinkler) (10:51): One of the top five issues raised by constituents in my electorate of Hinkler is upgrades to the Bruce Highway and of course road safety. The Bruce Highway stretches some 1700 kilometres along the Queensland coast, with 89.7 kilometres of the highway running through the electorate of Hinkler from Torbanlea to Booyal.

It is a popular topic in the opinion pages of our local newspapers for Labor supporters to complain about Nationals MPs listing the Bruce Highway as a key priority at every election. One letter writer makes repeated false claims about the Liberal National Party ‘never, ever delivering on the Bruce in Hinkler’.

You only have to look at the facts to see that they are clutching at straws. The coalition has committed $6.7 billion over 10 years to fix the Bruce Highway. Since being elected to office in 2013, a number of major Bruce Highway upgrades—which make it safer for motorists travelling through my electorate—have been completed.

An $8 million upgrade to three intersections near Childers was completed in July 2014. A $4.5 million project to widen a four-kilometre stretch near Adies Road at Apple Tree Creek was also completed in July 2014. Six million dollars was spent on an overtaking lane north of Howard, which work was completed on in August 2014. The $7.1 million widening of the highway for 2.2 kilometres near Wongi State Forest, south of Torbanlea, was completed in December 2015. And, just this month, work has started on a $700,000 widening of a seven-kilometre stretch near Booyal. This work includes a wide centre-line treatment to provide greater separation between vehicles travelling in opposite directions, reducing the potential for head-on collisions. In the coming months, work will start to widen a two-and-a-half-kilometre stretch of the Bruce Highway near Little Pig Creek, north of Torbanlea.

There are other safety improvements scheduled for the Hinkler stretch of the Bruce Highway in 2016-17 financial year as well as significant work being done on sections north and south of my electorate which will directly benefit Hinkler motorists.

I find it amusing that they claim I have done nothing when, under the Coalition, $26.3 million has been spent on what is 90 kilometres of road. Furthermore, the coalition government has doubled the Roads to Recovery funding to Hinkler councils, providing $28.1 million between 2014 and 2019 to build better roads, support local jobs and the economy.

Councils also receive substantial federal funding each year to improve road black spots. Bundaberg Regional Council has received more than $500,000 under the Black Spot Program this financial year with two of four improvements almost complete. Improvements on Hummock Road at both the Elliott Heads Road and Windermere Road intersections have been underway for some weeks and are nearing completion while work on the Burnett Heads Road and Mittleheusers Road intersection has begun.

Work will begin shortly on upgrading the Burnett Street and Targo Street intersection—a notorious black spot in Bundaberg—to make it safer for motorists. Motorists’ safety, freight route reliability and emergency accessibility are essential for the people who live, work and run businesses in regional Queensland as well as the tourists and visitors that help boost our local economies.

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