Bruce Hwy projects delayed for flood recovery

Important upgrades to the Bruce Highway, including flood-prone areas, will be delayed to assist Queensland flood recovery

By Brad Gardner | January 28, 2011

Funds for upgrades to the Bruce Highway, including flood-prone areas, will be deferred to rebuild parts of Queensland devastated by recent flooding.

The Federal Government will delay six key infrastructure projects and use the $325 million saved to aid recovery.

The $86 million upgrade of the Bruce between Caboolture and Caloundra will not resume until after the flood recovery effort finishes.

The $65 million upgrade to the route between Cabbage Tree Creek to Carman Road and Back Creek Range will also be delayed.

Despite the Government citing the importance of the realignment of the highway from Sandy Corner to Collinsons Lagoon, the $40 million project will be put on hold.

The route is prone to "significant flooding", according to the Government, and is affected by congestion, poor safety and a lack of overtaking opportunities.

"Construction of a wider, higher level bridge and road approaches on a new alignment will provide the targeted flood immunity and safety standards," the Government noted in 2007.

The $20 million for intersection upgrades to the highway along the Burdekin Road will be funnelled into recovery efforts, with another $40 million coming from the Herbert River floodplain project.

Funding will also be stripped from the Bruce between Vantassel Street to the Flinders Highway, with the Government re-directing $75 million from the duplication of the route.

Another $675 million for upgrades in other states will be re-prioritised, but the Government is yet to name the projects which will be affected.

"Over coming days I will be discussing these projects directly with the affected state governments before the minister for infrastructure publicly announces the details of our changes," Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

The delay in funding coincides with a one-off flood tax to raise $1.8 billion.

Those earning between $50,001 and $100,000 will pay a 0.5 percent levy, while those with incomes higher than $100,000 will pay 1 percent.

People earning less than $50,000 and those affected by the floods will not pay.

"Under this levy, someone who has an income of $60,000 will pay just under $1 extra per week. A person earning $100,000 per year will pay just under an extra $5 per week," Gillard says.

"Anyone who receives the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment for a flood this financial year will be exempt."

The Federal Government is also making an immediate $2 billion payment to Queensland to aid recovery efforts.

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