Labor leader Bill Shorten
Labor leader Bill Shorten Adam Wratten

Shorten talks up 'transformative' power of Rocky's Ring Road

OPPOSITION leader Bill Shorten will host a Town Hall meeting in Yeppoon tonight and brings with him a commitment to the Rockhampton Ring Road should his party win the coming federal election.

The pledge matches $800 million for the bypass road and third bridge announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Rockhampton in November but Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said funds committed in the budget by the government had already secured project regardless of the election outcome.

Mr Shorten said the ring road was a transformative project that would support about 780 direct jobs during construction, ease congestion on the Bruce Highway and make Rockhampton an even better place to live and work.

The ring road will run from the Yeppen roundabout, along the western side of the airport to a third bridge crossing before reconnecting with the existing highway at Parkhurst.

"Investments such as this are a critical component of a serious decentralisation policy because they provide regional centres with the infrastructure and services they need to grow and prosper," Mr Shorten said.

The commitment follows yesterday's announcement that a Labor government would ensure more contracts and major projects were delivered by local businesses employing local workers.

Under the policy, companies competing for public projects worth more than $10million and private projects worth more than $250million would have to submit plans showing how they would give Australian industry a "full, fair and reasonable opportunity" to win procurement work, halving the current threshold of $20million for public projects and $500million for private ones.

Mr Shorten said federal Labor's commitment to the Rockhampton Ring Road "builds on a strong track record of delivering for Central Queensland the last time we were in office".

"This included the Yeppen Floodplain project which upgraded the Bruce Highway to prevent Rockhampton being cut off from the south, even during a one in 100-year flooding event," he said.

"It was the former federal Labor government that first began investigating the planning for the Rockhampton Ring Road when we commissioned the Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study in June 2009.

"A 2011 study backed the project."

BILL'S BUS

  • Town Hall meeting tonight 5.30-7pm
  • Strand Hotel, Yeppoon
  • Opposition leader Bill Shorten and ALP candidate for Capricornia, Russell Robertson