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DPM

Acting PM urged to act on Bruce Highway

THE Acting Prime Minister has met with North Queensland transport officials to hear their concerns about the unreliable Bruce Highway.

With major flooding and a number of serious crashes between Mackay and Cairns since Christmas, transport companies have been forced to a standstill.

On Tuesday, Hinchinbrook Shire Council had to set up a staging area for travellers and truck drivers stranded as flooding closed the highway.

Last week, ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen caused days of issues between Townsville and Cairns, with road closures in multiple spots.

Michael McCormack, who is acting PM while Scott Morrison is on leave, was in North Queensland to talk water and announce an upgrade to the Global Navigation Satellite System across the country.

When the Townsville Bulletin asked if the federal government would consider spending more money on flood mitigation on the Bruce Highway, the acting PM said there were already conversations happening with transport industry representatives.

Mr McCormack met with the transport officials and Senator Susan McDonald, who has been a fierce advocate for the regions, on Tuesday.

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack, with Herbert MP Phillip Thompson, Queensland Senator Susan McDonald and Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt.. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack, with Herbert MP Phillip Thompson, Queensland Senator Susan McDonald and Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt.. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

"She called the meeting to talk about that very thing and other highways and byways and back roads," Mr McCormack said.

"It was very instructive to hear from those transport operators … to hear about their experiences.

"Some of them have had drivers held up and unable to move and that costs money, it costs those small business operators money because sometimes they've got perishable goods in the back of their B-doubles.

"They obviously then have to meet with their logbook requirements. It is an imposition on them."

Mr McCormack said the federal government already had $10bn set aside for Bruce Highway updates and he was willing to work with Queensland Roads Minister Mark Bailey.

"(It is) one of our most vital linkage roads," he said.

Mr McCormack said the highway was key to getting North Queensland's produce to other parts of the country.

Originally published as Acting PM urged to act on Bruce Highway


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