Bruce Hwy upgrade becomes a major federal election topic
7.45am: IN a week filled with VIP visits to Rockhampton, both Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and opposition leader, Tony Abbott were keen to agree on one vital topic.
It's time to upgrade the Bruce Highway…and both parties are trying to win votes with multibillion dollar promises to bring the road into the 21st century.
Mr Abbott and Shadow Minister for Transport, Warren Truss made a return visit to Rockhampton yesterday with promises of an $8.5 billion, 80-20 funding partnership with the Queensland government to fix the Bruce over the next 10 years.
The plan confirmed $246 million from the Federal and State governments to ensure the Yeppen flood plain was passable, $65 million to plan and preserve land for the western bypass and $121 million for stage one on the northern access to Rockhampton.
Not only does the LNP plan offer $2.6 billion dollars over Labor's plan, but the partnership with the Queensland government will take some catching up if Labor wants to win points on the Bruce.
Mr Truss said Labor was still insisting on 50-50 funding arrangement with the State government and that money wasn't there.
"So there are real questions about whether Labor will be able to honour the promises they are making," he said yesterday.
However ALP candidate for Capricornia, Peter Freeleagus said the track record of the LNP on the Bruce Highway suggested their commitments couldn't be trusted.
But he didn't respond to questions about whether Labor's plan was guaranteed if the State government wouldn't contribute 50%.
Instead he said Mr Abbott's numbers showed they would spend less than Labor between the coming election and the next election in 2016.
"They're banking on local people not reading between the lines" he said.
"You have to question this so-called $65 million for the western bypass, where are the funds to build the road and the timetable for construction?"
Mr Abbott said the bypass would be funded from money allocated in forward estimates, the Building Australia fund and budget savings.
3.10pm: Opposition leader, Tony Abbott and Leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss are in town today with multibillion dollar promises to bring the Bruce Highway up to a standard befitting a first world country, in the 21st century.
Mr Abbott has promised a $6.7 billion commitment over 10 years, which offers $2.6 billion and a dozen projects over Labors plan.
Shadow Minister for Transport, Mr Truss said the LNP had secured an 80-20 funding partnership with the Queensland government to undertake 70 projects over 10 years.
These include the Yeppen floodplain upgrade and $65 million to plan and preserve Rockhampton's western bypass.
Read more in tomorrow's paper.
11.50am: A COALITION government will commit $2.5 million for the 10th triennial Beef Australia 2015 expo to be held in Rockhampton, Queensland in May 2015.
A press release issued by the Liberal National Party stated the investment will enable Beef Australia to stage this world-class industry event which promotes Australian products to existing and potential markets.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made the same commitment while in Rockhampton on Tuesday for the Community Cabinet. Read Rudd's commitment here>>>
The LNP statement went on to say beef cattle are one of Australia's major industries, critical to the Northern Australia economy and in particular Queensland. Around 200,000 people are employed in the red meat industry, including on-farm production, processing and retail.
As the world's largest exporter of beef, Australia plays a leading role in the global industry and is regarded as one of the world's most efficient producers of cattle.
The Beef Australia 2015 expo will bring together the national beef industry to examine the latest technological innovations and to learn about improved environmental and animal welfare practices.
This event will showcase Australia's expertise to the world.
Beginning in 1988, the expo has grown into an iconic international event for the Australian beef industry celebrating the Queensland cattle industry.
The last expo in 2012 was attended by around 85,000 people and saw around $31.3 million being invested into the local economy.
The event is also very timely as the Australian cattle industry is still reeling from the effects of the Labor Government's knee jerk ban on live cattle exports to Australia's largest live cattle market, Indonesia, and the continued effects of the drought.
In particular, the ban on live exports by the Labor Government continues to cripple the billion dollar industry which employs thousands of Australians.
The Liberal National Party is committed to strengthening regional Queensland as part of our Real Solutions Plan to grow the economy, get the Budget under control and create one million new jobs within five years.
Only the LNP has the Plan to deliver a strong and prosperous economy - and a key part of that is fixing Labor's live cattle mess and continuing to support this vital Australian industry.
MORE ON TONY ABBOTT'S VISIT TO COME.
8.20am: TONY Abbott, leader of the Federal Opposition, will be in Rockhampton this morning.
He is expected to make an announcement about a joint policy and visit the campdraft at Paradise Lagoons.