News

Swan defends Budget hwy spending

THE beleaguered Bruce Hwy has received an "enormous" investment, Treasurer Wayne Swan claims, despite criticism from various agencies the Sunshine State's major highway was neglected in the Federal Budget.

Mr Swan took his speech at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event in Brisbane on Friday as an opportunity to defend his government's contribution to the Bruce Hwy upgrade following the obvious absence of new infrastructure funding for the arterial road in the Federal Budget.

The road's upgrade was a hot topic for the audience and Mr Swan, who turned to the issue at his first chance during a question and answer session.

"The Cooroy to Curra investment is huge," he said.

"While we made that commitment a few years ago, it was the most dangerous slice of national highway in Australia.

"But of course it takes a long time. We have enormous investments going on right up the Bruce Hwy of great significance.

"You can't just sit back and say there is no money. There is an enormous amount of money coming into this state and the road network.

"If you want to pull out the figures when it comes to roads you will find Queensland has done very well over the last four or five years."

The comments come after the RACQ, QLD Premier and Treasurer condemned the Federal Government for not contributing more to the Bruce Hwy after the State Government put forward $1 billion over 10 years to the upgrade on the basis the Commonwealth stepped up its funding.

NSW received a $3.56 billion slice of the Budget pie to upgrade the equally problematic Pacific Hwy.

But that was thrown into disarray only 48 hours after it was announced when the Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the money would go to another project in the National Building Program if the NSW Government did not match their commitment.

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said on Thursday the State Government would not match it.

Topics:  bruce highway, federal budget 2012, wayne swan



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