Wallace calls for immediate publication of overdue Bruce Highway planning study
Andrew Wallace, Federal Member for Fisher has called on Queensland Labor Minister Mark Bailey to immediately release the results of a planning study into upgrades to the Bruce Highway between Caloundra and Pine Rivers, following allocation of an additional $880 million for the project, as well as $150 million for the Murrumba Downs section, in this year’s Federal Budget. The planning study was commissioned in 2016 and was supported with $6.4 million from the Federal Government.
Mr Wallace said “The Queensland Government have had two years now to complete this planning study. During that two years, and following a lot of hard work from our Federal MPs here on the Coast, the Commonwealth Government has committed $2.3 billion to upgrading the Bruce Highway between Caloundra and Brisbane. We’re ready to go, the money is there. The only thing holding us back now is Minister Mark Bailey.”
Mr Wallace wrote to Minister Bailey this month to request immediate publication of the planning study. Mr Wallace’s office has contacted the Department of Transport and Main roads at least eight times since November 2017 to request an update on progress toward publication.
“Minister Bailey assured me last year that the study would be published before the end of 2017, yet after nearly six months and many direct requests from my office we are still waiting. Every week Mark Bailey delays is another week that Sunshine Coast residents must put up with crawling along this dangerous and congested stretch of road. The people of the Sunshine Coast have had enough.” Mr Wallace said.
Minister Bailey said in a statement of 21 June 2017 that the “$8 million planning study is currently being fast-tracked for completion later this year”, however no results have been published to date.
“We need the results of this study now and in full. Across the last two Federal Budgets I believe that the Commonwealth has allocated the money we need, with the State’s 20% contribution, to complete the full program of works. It is no longer good enough to publish only part of the plan. We have the money in place and we need to know what the full program would look like. That way we can get shovels in the ground on all of the work we need now, and avoid long delays from an inefficient piecemeal approach.” Mr Wallace said.
The Federal Government’s contribution of $6.4 million covered 80% of the planning study’s cost. The project is expected to include adding an extra lane to the highway each way between Caloundra and Caboolture. The 2017/18 Federal Budget included $120 million for upgrades to the Deception Bay interchange, and $530 million for additional upgrades between Caloundra and Pine Rivers. The 2018/19 Budget allocated an additional $880 million for further upgrades on the same stretch of the road as well as $150 million for the Murrumba Downs section.