WORK IN PROGRESS: An artist’s impression of the upgraded Cooroy southern interchange looking north-east.
WORK IN PROGRESS: An artist’s impression of the upgraded Cooroy southern interchange looking north-east. Contributed

Friendly dig and Bruce Highway upgrade job starts to roll

TWO politicians in suits started shovelling mud to mark the official start of work on the $790 million upgrade of the Bruce Hwy from south of the Cooroy Southern Interchange to Sankeys Rd.

From the grin on his face the one of the left, Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, was in his element Wednesday shovelling with enthusiasm for the media and guests at the latest Cooroy to Curra sod turning just of Black Mountain Range Rd .

The State Member for Gympie, former LNP police minister David Gibson, who lost his portfolio when caught speeding while unlicensed, was on hand while Mr Albanese put a little more political dirt on the LNP State Government and federal Coalition for Bruce funding. Or alleged lack thereof.

And Mr Albanese even had a gentle dig at Mr Gibson for turning up for the ceremony well after him - even though he lived just up the highway.

Mr Gibson showed he had not lost his good humour by shooting back: "I wanted to make sure I wasn't speeding."

But Mr Albanese was aiming his political dirt digger more at the locally absent federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss, who has driven the Bruce Hwy to highlight its need for an urgent upgrade.

"I know that in spite of the fact that a number of (federal) Opposition members have made trips up and down the coast looking at the road they haven't promised a single cent of additional funding," the minister said.

"I was disappointed that there wasn't additional monies in the Queensland Budget last week, and the Queensland Government certainly needs to do more to match the rhetoric that was there before the election with actual real dollars for real projects.

"The State Government does planning, what the Federal Government has done is provide a quadrupling of funds for the Bruce Highway since we came into office. As I said, $5.7 billion - the former government, $1.3 billion over 12 years."

The Noosa News dug up recent statements from Mr Truss on highway spending.

"Labor is selling communities along the Bruce Highway short and trying to con them with a $4 billion carrot that, if you blink, it's gone," Mr Truss said.

He said the Coalition will detail its "comprehensive funding" for the Bruce Hwy before the election "so people can compare our commitment with Labor's hollow promises."

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