A Shorten Labor Government would invest $15 million to build up to six new overtaking lanes on the Capricorn Highway between Gracemere and Emerald to boost productivity and improve road safety.
The Capricorn Highway is Central Queensland’s principal east-west freight corridor and also a critical route for tourists moving between the Capricorn Coast and the Queensland Outback.
The highway is a single carriageway with limited overtaking lanes and carries up to 2800 vehicles a day. A quarter of those vehicles are trucks, many towing over-sized loads of mining equipment.
The project would deliver up to three new overtaking lanes in each direction to increase opportunities for motorists to pass slower-moving vehicles such as trucks, buses and cars towing caravans.
Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the work would allow motorists to get to their destination sooner.
“Labor is not only focused on the infrastructure needs of big cities, but also on the needs of rural and regional Australia. Importantly, funding for this project would be in Labor’s very first budget in office,’’ Mr Albanese said.
“This is particularly important when it comes to road safety because a disproportionate level of deaths and injuries on our roads happen in the regions.’’
Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Jason Clare said local workers and contractors will also be a big winner from this project, as this $15 million project will require a plan for Local Jobs under Labor’s local procurement policy.
“The successful bidder will be required to nominate an on-the-ground contact to engage with local small and medium businesses to raise awareness of upcoming tender and subcontracting opportunities,” said Mr Clare.
“There will also be local labour-market testing for any new employees required for the project, to ensure out of town firms are not undercutting local wages, as well as increased protections for sub-contractors to ensure they get paid.”
Labor candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson said the Capricorn Highway is a major economic and social artery for Central Queensland.
“These new overtaking lanes will not only improve safety but also help get people and produce more quickly from A to B,” said Mr Robertson.
“After years of neglect at the hands of Michelle Landry and the LNP, I’m proud to be a part of team that have a plan for roads in Central Queensland.”
Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers said the project would be good for local business and families as well as for job seekers.
“Thousands of vehicles use this road every day, including locals getting to and from work, trucks carrying mining equipment and families travelling with kids,’’ Mr Beers said.
“Crucially, whoever is awarded the tender will be required to not only work with Central Queensland businesses, but will also need to ensure that locals are given first crack at any jobs created by this project.’’
Today’s announcement builds on Labor’s plan for Queensland, which includes:
- $25 million towards the Rockhampton flood Levee;
- $176 million towards the Rookwood Weir, supporting 2000 jobs;
- $47.5 million towards the dual-laning of the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road, supporting 150 jobs;
- $800 million towards the Rockhampton Ring Road;
- $7.2 million to build a new Cardiac Theatre at Rockhampton Hospital;
- $25 million to transform Great Keppel Island.