Turn the Bruce from 'national disgrace to national pride'

The passenger of this VW was transported to Gladstone Hospital after it rolled on the Bruce Highway, just south of Benaraby.
The passenger of this VW was transported to Gladstone Hospital after it rolled on the Bruce Highway, just south of Benaraby. Mike Richards GLA140717ROLL

AN OUTSPOKEN critic of the state of the Bruce Highway has welcomed Labor's election commitment to the road.

Gladstone Region councillor Glenn Churchill said it was "extremely pleasing".

However, he still spoke with caution, saying the State Government had to stick to any plan.

Yesterday Labor said if re-elected it would establish the Bruce Highway Trust to identify priority projects through a 15-year forward plan and invest $1billion in projects delivering long-term planning certainty under five-year action plans.

Cr Churchill brought the issue up at last month's Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference.

At the time he labelled the road a "disgrace".

"We need to turn the highway from a national disgrace to a highway of national pride," Cr Churchill said.

"If this is a commitment it has to have bipartisan support.

"It's crucial that all members of parliament make a commitment to the long term development of the Bruce."

Cr Churchill said many people who had loved ones travelling Queensland's main road would welcome the news.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said future-proofing the Bruce was not just about making it quicker and safer to get from A to B.

"It's about boosting our economic growth and our exports ... through more efficient transport of goods from our regional producers to the rest of Australia and the world," she said.

"It's about jobs, with extra and more efficient economic activity supporting existing jobs and creating new ones. The cities, towns and regions that the Bruce connects, already support an estimated 600,000 jobs.

"It's about delivering a 1700km world-class highway that's resistant to cyclones and floods so we can better protect local communities, keep our state moving in times of disaster, and cut repair and restoration bills into the future."

Cr Churchill called on the Federal Government to "stump up" money and match Queensland Labor's commitment.

If re-elected, Labor would appoint Queensland transport industry leader Peter Garske to serve as inaugural chairman of the Bruce Highway Trust.

On The Gladstone Observer's Facebook page the announcement was met with scepticism, with many not buying the promise.

Topics:  bruce highway fix the bruce gladstone roads qld election 2017 queensland election 2017

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