Call for Albanese to focus on Bruce

THE Federal Government needs to "cough up" further funding for the upgrade of the troublesome Bruce Highway, Queensland's new Transport Minister believes.

With the newly-elected LNP committing $1 billion to upgrading Queensland's longest highway, Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the Labor Government should follow suit.

How much should they commit?

"A lot," Mr Emerson said.

"The current government hasn't looked after the Bruce Highway as they should.

"I want them to put in as much money as they can put into the Bruce Highway. It's an important commitment to us.

"We have said to them as part of our election policies that we are willing to put $1 billion on the table as long as the Federal Government comes to the party.

"I call on Transport Minister (Anthony) Albanese to say 'look, let's start focusing on the Bruce Highway'."

Mr Emerson would not be drawn on particular areas of priority but said the highway would be reviewed by the soon-to-be formed Bruce Highway Management Crisis Group and in a subsequent assessment report.

"That's what that report will look at," he said.

"That six-month report will come back and look at where we can make real improvement to the Bruce Highway."

A spokesman for Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the Labor Government had substantially increased funding since coming into office.

"If (Mr Emerson) thinks the current Labor Government is neglecting the Bruce Highway, he would have been horrified about the neglect given by the Howard Government," he said.

"We recognised the neglect so we ramped up the funding."

The Howard Government contributed $1.2 billion over 12 years to the Bruce Highway whereas the current Federal Government has allocated $2.7 billion over six years, the spokesman said.



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