Federal MP Anthony Albanese
Federal MP Anthony Albanese Jay Cronan

Warren Truss hits back in highway funding row

A SENIOR Labor MP has taken a swipe at Wide Bay MP Warren Truss over a Bruce Hwy funding announcement.

Mr Truss, the Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday said the Federal Government would spend $5.2 million on safety upgrades on the Glenorchy straight, between Gympie and Maryborough. However, Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said the last Labor government announced the upgrade in the 2013 budget.

Mr Truss said the Federal Government would meet 80% of the upgrade cost, with Queensland meeting 20%.

"These intersections have been the focus of local lobby groups following a number of accidents and fatalities, and we are acting on those concerns," Mr Truss said.

The upgrade will see a median installed after the pavement is widened for around 2km. New turning lanes will be installed at the Old Gympie Rd and Eight Mile Rd intersections.

Mr Truss said the Federal Government had invested $13.4 billion in Queensland infrastructure.

But Mr Albanese said the upgrade was a Labor project - and it was not the first time Mr Truss had "re-announced".

"Mr Truss is good at imitating but poor at initiating," Mr Albanese said.

"Since Mr Truss became a minister his initiatives have consisted of re-announcing projects."

He said the Federal Government had been on a "magical infrastructure re-announcement tour".

"There isn't a single major project that has begun on their watch. Infrastructure Australia hasn't produced a single piece of work since the election."

Mr Truss hit back on Tuesday, saying Mr Albanese should stop desperately trying to claim credit for road projects that Labor never built during their six years in office and would not have built if they had been re-elected.

"In their last budget almost 18 months ago,  Labor cut road funding, committing less money to roads in their last year in office than the Howard Government did in 2007.

"The Liberal Nationals Federal and State Governments committed a record $8.5 billion to the Bruce Highway, more than doubling Labor's $4.1 billion offer. 

 "The Coalition's plan includes at least 28 major projects and hundreds of smaller upgrades that Labor made no offer to fund.

"Labor failed to commit any funding to build Section C of the Cooroy to Curra four lane upgrade and any money.

"Labor was prepared to offer on the Bruce Highway was conditional on the Queensland Government providing matching funding - instead of the traditional Commonwealth 80% and State 20% funding split. 

"The State Governments would never have agreed to Labor's cost shifting, and national highway upgrades would have stalled. 

"The Coalition's new investment means that projects like the Glenorchy Straight, the southern Gympie safety upgrade and the Tinana interchange have been funded and will be built."

- APN NEWSDESK



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