LNP accuse ALP 'copy cats' of underwhelming road promises
LNP's politicians in CQ have rubbished Labor leader Bill Shorten's promise over the weekend to spend $500 million on fixing up to 3000 kilometres of roads and 300 bridges in regional Queensland.
Minister for Northern Australian Matt Canavan and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry accused Labor of spending a "mere percentage" of what they planned on spending in south east Queensland.
"It sounds fantastic but when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is," Senator Canavan said.
"Mr Shorten's announced funding for the entirety of regional Queensland is one-fifth of the commitment he has made to building the Cross River Rail in Brisbane, and half of that he has pledged to fixing two sections of highway in south east Queensland.
"It works out to be roughly $150,000 in works per kilometre or bridge."
He said a recent Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics report found it cost around $3.8 million per kilometre to build a rural arterial road and bearing this in mind he said regional Queenslanders were right to be utterly underwhelmed by Labor's "so-called commitment to fixing local roads".
"You might be able to fix up a toilet block with $150,000, but upgrade a critical road or bridge? Not so much," he said.
In contrast, he listed a number of Federal Government programs investing millions in upgrading key roads in regional Queensland.
This included a share of $3.5 billion to fix roads that link producers to their markets under the Roads of Strategic Importance program, around $280 million for 25 projects across north Queensland under our Northern Australia and Beef Roads programs and $10 billion towards the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns.
Ms Landry said Mr Shorten's comments suggested that the Labor Party was in "panic mode", coming on board with the Ring Road in response to her public comments pushing to make it happen.
She estimated a federal commitment of $800 million was required for the Ring Road.
"Where are you getting the money for that Bill?" she said.
"We're heard nothing about them talking with the stake holders and the businesses."
She said it was very rewarding to see this opposition supporting projects she had been pushing for.
"Whether it is the Ring Road to help get heavy traffic off our city streets, or Rookwood Weir to deliver jobs and water security for CQ, Central Queenslanders know a copycat when they see one," Ms Landry said.
"If only that copycat approach extended to some other major projects, we as Central Queenslanders might be able to believe Mr Shorten's 'promises'.
Ms Landry said while it is easy to slide in on supporting upgrades to our highways, Mr Shorten seems to fall short when it comes to supporting the thousands of jobs that will be delivered by the Galilee Basin.
"One hopes Mr Shorten is good for it and the Heavy Vehicle Ring Road actually does now finally have bipartisan support," she said.
"Just like his support for Rookwood Weir before, it's a case of 'better late than never'."