(QldGovSpin) Crunch time for Howard govt on funding Tully floodworks

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 14/07/2004 - 23:17

The Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Paul Lucas, today said the Howard Government had no more excuses not to fund Bruce Highway floodworks at Tully after the State Government today sent a Project Proposal Report (PPR) to Canberra.

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Transport & Main Roads, Paul Lucas
transport@cabinet.qld.gov.au
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14/07/04

Mr Lucas said the PPR sought funding to begin planning of the floodworks between Corduroy Creek and Banyan Creek, south of Tully.

The floodworks were ignored in the Commonwealth's recent AusLink road-funding announcement.

AusLink provided only $210 million over five years for the 1650 kilometres of the Bruce Highway from just north of Brisbane to Cairns - with a miserly $15 million being provided in the next two years.

"Queensland is ready and willing to begin the detailed planning for Tully," Mr Lucas said.

"This is the first big step forward for this project," he said.

"This also is crunch time for the Howard Government to fund this vital scheme.

"There are no more excuses for the Howard Government not to announce major funds for the project."

Queensland Main Roads today sent a letter to the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services (DoTaRS), asking for $1.5 million for the initial Stage 2 planning phase.

"However, now is the obvious time for the Commonwealth to commit all of the funding for this project, estimated to be about $80 million," Mr Lucas said.

"We can then proceed in the knowledge that this project is a goer and will not be shelved a couple of years down the track."

Both the $1.5 million for planning and the $80 million for the entire project must be in addition to the $210 million already announced under AusLink.

The Stage 2 planning phase, which is expected to take from two to three years if there is appropriate Federal funding, will include:

* Hydraulic studies of the Tully/Murray River floodplain;
* Public consultation;
* Review of environmental factors;
* Cultural heritage survey;
* Geo-technical assessment;
* Traffic engineering and bridge investigation;
* Economic analysis; and
* Preliminary road design.

When this planning is complete, design will take up to another year and construction will need a further two years.

Queensland Main Roads will do the planning in close cooperation with DoTaRS, the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Queensland Rail.

Main Roads has already done preliminary investigations into floodplains in the Tully area and is currently doing a four-year study of hydraulic issues affecting the highway and nearby agricultural land.

The Federal Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Ian Campbell, recently said he would fund a flood study for Tully if the Queensland Government put a funding submission to him.

The Corduroy to Banyan Creek section of the Bruce Highway closes due to water on an annual average of 79 hours, which is well above acceptable levels for a national highway of less than 12 hours.

Mr Lucas said under the first eight years of the Howard Government, Queensland got 24 per cent of National Highway funding.

Under AusLink this has been reduced to 19 per cent.

"It is not as if the Feds don't have the money," Mr Lucas said.

"The Commonwealth collects around $650 per capita from motorists but it returns less than $90 per capita for roads, including funding to local government," he said.

Media enquiries:
Paul Childs
3237 1942/ 0407 131 654.

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