Impractical Bruce Highway wildlife bridge saved, cattle and mineral roads axed

Nov 17, 2023

KATTER’S Australian Party MP Bob Katter is questioning the commonsense behind a decision to cut Federal funding for major income-generating roads in North Queensland, yet a “laughable” Bruce Hwy wildlife crossing which has blown out in costs escapes the government’s razor.

The Federal Infrastructure Minister this week released the government’s “90-day” review of the Infrastructure Investment Program – which was announced in May after road and rail projects had “blown out” in the $120bn program.

The announcement featured the axing of a number of Queensland projects, including funding to upgrade the Tennant Creek (Northern Territory) to Townsville corridor.

“The corridor from Tenant Creek to Townsville – absolutely critical for beef, and also, for the expansion of the North West Minerals Province which will serve the ALP governments with their critical minerals for their climate ambitions,” Mr Katter said.

“The beef industry is one of the largest export industries, one of Australia’s biggest export-earning items.

“So money being taken away from this corridor, when it’s already falling to pieces is just putting under threat the major exports of this country.”

He said the announcement was an absolute slap in the face to North Queenslanders who instead had to witness the construction of a cassowary crossing over the Bruce Hwy, just north of Tully.

The project, now years overdue and blown out from $12m to $30, attempts to provide passage to the flightless birds to cross the major road, however has come under fire for its costs and practicality.

“Meanwhile, the State ALP backed with Federal funding, has no problem building a bridge for cassowaries to cross the road which has blown out from $12m to over $30m.

“I have never seen anything like this, and even if it was cost-effective – look at the design – on the eastern end of this bridge, it’s just a cliff straight onto the main Queensland rail way line. Seriously how do they imagine this bridge to function, then again asking government how anything functions would be a waste of time.

“Just remember that’s how your taxpayer money is being spent, not to improve roads that create wealth for this country; $32m – who is responsible – the Queensland Government and the Federal Minister.”