New Second Bruce vision builds on Palaszczuk Government’s Real Bruce Plan

October 21, 2020

Labor has backed a Real Bruce Plan that prioritises safety upgrades and takes trucks off the highway onto a ‘Second Bruce’ inland freight route, as part of Queensland’s ongoing Economic Recovery Plan.

The plan also commits to building on the existing $12.6 billion jointly-funded Bruce Highway partnership with the Federal Government supporting 2500 jobs, with an additional $500 million for priority upgrades between Proserpine and Gladstone.

Regional communities will also have a say in how funding is prioritised, with six new representatives from regional Queensland to be added to the Bruce Highway Trust.

Touring the $514 million Bruce Highway upgrade at the Haughton River south of Townsville, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 33 projects are underway on the Bruce Highway thanks to Labor’s record investment on Queensland’s national highway.

“Since 2015, we’ve delivered $3.7 billion in Bruce upgrades, supporting thousands of regional jobs,” the Premier said.

“We are transforming the Bruce around Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.

“If re-elected, my government will continue to increase the annual investment in Bruce Highway upgrades to almost $2 billion by 2023.

“We’ll also build on our existing $125 million partnership with the Federal Government to improve the inland Townsville to Roma corridor by committing $200 million for the ‘Second Bruce’ to take trucks off the Bruce Highway.”

Under its Real Bruce Plan, Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said Labor would set a target to reduce fatalities by 60% by 2030.

“As a former paramedic, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact road crashes can have over many years on families,” Mr Harper said.

“Labor will continue delivering a $1.5 billion safety package that targets known crash locations with priority upgrades that will save lives.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said Labor will commit $200 million to inland road and bridge upgrades between Townsville and Roma to support freight moving on the Second Bruce.

“Labor’s Real Bruce Plan will take trucks off the Bruce Highway by building capacity on the Second Bruce to improve safety and reduce travel times for freight,” Mr Stewart said.

“Encouraging trucks to head inland means less trucks heading through local communities along the highway, from Gympie to Townsville.

“Transport industry modelling has estimated trucks travelling between Far North Queensland and Melbourne on upgraded inland highways could save up to five hours on a single one-way trip.”

Key opportunities of the Second Bruce plan include:

● Reducing truck movements on the existing Bruce Highway up to 49 per cent*
● Cutting freight travel times between North Queensland and key markets in Sydney and Melbourne
● Upgrading inland highway bridges to suit larger vehicle combinations
● Prioritising maintenance and highway upgrades to meet heavy haulage standards
● Offering a reliable alternate freight connection to access regional and remote communities cut off by natural disasters
● Generating new regional jobs at food, accommodation and rest stop businesses to meet demand from increased inland truck movements.

Labor Candidate for Burdekin Mike Brunker said increasing the Bruce Highway Trust membership to include more regional voices will give regional communities a larger say on how funding is prioritised.  

“We know regional communities want a seat at the table when it comes to building a better Bruce,” Mr Brunker said.

“Under our Real Bruce Plan, six people who live in regional Queensland and regularly use the highway will join the Bruce Highway Trust to help deliver better outcomes for regional communities along the highway.”

Labor Candidate for Whitsunday Angie Kelly said Labor’s focus on upgrading the Bruce highway between Mackay and Proserpine was welcome news for the Whitsunday community.

“Labor is delivering for major roads in Whitsunday,” Ms Kelly said.

“There is $25 million locked in for upgrades to Proserpine-Shute Harbour Road, and work has started on a $39 million safety upgrade project between The Leap and Kuttabul.

“The promise of more upgrades to come is not only huge news in terms of making the highway safer and less flood prone but it also guarantees work for local businesses when every job counts to help Queensland’s economy recover.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Labor has a plan for economic recovery to create jobs across Queensland. 

“We’ve already seen Deb Frecklington and the LNP’s Bruce Highway hoax exposed during this campaign,” Mr Bailey said.

“It turns out it was just $50 million for her consultant mates in Brisbane.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s strong action on the border has meant construction on major Bruce Highway upgrades have continued without any site shutdowns like we’ve seen in other parts of Australia and around the world.

“Deb Frecklington and the LNP put that at risk by recklessly calling for the borders to be opened against health advice.

“Now, Deb Frecklington wants to recklessly rush to a surplus, defying the advice of leading economists in a move that means cutting more than 30,000 Queensland jobs.

“The LNP has more than $26 billion in unfunded election promises and has committed to delivering a surplus without borrowing any more money.

“The worst part is they won’t tell voters what their plan is before election day.

“When Deb Frecklington was Campbell Newman’s Assistant Minister, she cut $1.6 billion in road and transport projects in Queensland.

“Now is not the time to risk Deb Frecklington and the LNP.”

*Sourced from modelling and analysis conducted by the Queensland Transport Logistics Council.