THE Bruce Highway between Sarina and Cairns will be four-laned by 2030 under a 10-year action plan for North and Far North Queensland announced in Mackay today by NQ First.

Talking up his vision at a media conference at Bakers Creek on the city’s southern outskirts, NQ First Leader and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said the plan included an immediate $400m funding commitment to fix the Bruce to the north and south of the sugar capital.

Mr Costigan said the funding, subject to NQ First securing the balance of power at the State Election on October 31, would be used to duplicate the highway from Sarina to Bakers Creek and on the city’s northern outskirts, from Erakala through to Kuttabul, to be completed by 2024.

“We have the plan to fix the Bruce in the North and Far North, starting at Sarina and then working north – in stark contrast to the LNP’s proposal which, in reality, would see these roadworks starting near Gympie and by the time they get to us, I could be in a nursing home,” said Mr Costigan, who was flanked by NQ First candidate for Mirani Jason Borg.

Mr Costigan said the funding for his highway upgrades would come from NQ First’s $2b Roads to Revival program, paid for by mining royalties and supported by the Federal Government.

“This election provides a clear choice. People can either back the major parties with their focus on the South-East corner or put your community first by putting North and Far North Queensland first. The last thing we need is that economic recovery after COVID-19 starting in the South-East and making its way north but that’s exactly what will happen if the LNP get their way.”

Mr Borg said recent accidents had only strengthened the case for four-laning of the Bruce and he welcomed the pledge to focus on sections of the highway within the Mirani electorate.

“I’m sure residents of Sarina and neighbouring communities such as Hay Point, Alligator Creek and all those seaside communities, as well as the transport industry, would warmly welcome this pledge to have four lanes all the way to Mackay, so long as we secure the balance of power,” he said.

Today’s funding commitment follows an announcement by NQ First on July 3 this year when the party promised $1.1b for other major road infrastructure projects including $200m towards floodproofing and duplicating the Bruce between the O’Connell River and Proserpine.

Elsewhere, NQ First promised $200m towards a new bridge across the Fitzroy River, $200m towards a new bridge across the Burdekin River and a $500m contribution towards the construction of the Tablelands Tunnel, taking pressure off the Kuranda Range Rd section of the Kennedy Highway.

All projects are subject to the traditional 80/20 funding split between the Federal and State Governments.  ###