Photo from drone footage of a dragline crossing the Peak Downs Highway.
Photo from drone footage of a dragline crossing the Peak Downs Highway.

150 jobs: $50m pledge to overhaul region’s neglected road

ONE of Queensland's most important highways will be upgraded under a major $50 million election pledge from the LNP.

The party has committed to upgrading sections of the Peak Downs Highway under three packages, if it wins the Queensland election.

The highway has been left to languish for years, despite its crucial role in connecting regions like Mackay to the state's major mining projects, resource and agricultural businesses.

Burdekin MP Dale Last said the upgrade would provide more than 150 construction jobs and make the corridor safer and more productive.

"An LNP Government will upgrade sections of the highway under three packages, including widening areas between Mackay and Nebo, widening areas between Nebo and Clermont, overtaking lanes and the replacement of eight narrow bridges," Mr Last said.

"This is a great safety and productivity boost for businesses that operate around Clermont, Moranbah and Mackay and some of the major mines that make up the Bowen Basin.

"The Peak Downs Highway is downright dangerous and is in a terrible condition."

Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Evan Morgan
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Evan Morgan

LNP candidate for Mirani Tracie Newitt said the highway was one of the region's most dangerous roads after years of neglect.

She said local residents and transport operators were "disgusted" by the state of it.

"Only the LNP recognises the economic contribution Central Queensland makes to Queensland which is why the LNP is making this $50 million investment in the Peak Downs Highway," Ms Newitt said.

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LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the investment would have a direct economic benefit to Central Queensland and was an important part of the party's plans to build new and better roads.

"The Peak Downs Highway feeds into the Bruce Highway and supports our plan to turn Queensland's most important road into Queensland's best road," Ms Frecklington said. 

"With four lanes from Curra to Cairns, we'll make the Bruce Highway faster, safer and stronger and our plan will create around 100,000 jobs over the next 15 years but we haven't forgotten the inland areas." 

Peak Downs Highway sign. Picture: Tara Miko
Peak Downs Highway sign. Picture: Tara Miko

The party's plan, announced last month, says the Bruce Highway upgrade would cost an estimated $33 billion and bring 100,000 jobs to the state.

But Mirani MP Stephen Andrew has criticised the move, saying 80 per cent of the required funding failed to materialise in Tuesday's Federal Budget.

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"Everyone in the north wants the Bruce Highway upgraded to four lanes and we wanted to see a commitment coming from both sides," he said.

"But if the LNP can't even get their own Federal colleagues on board, then the whole show is a road to nowhere and all we're left with is the $10 million promise to do yet another planning study."

The party has maintained the project is fully costed. 

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government had just completed the $180 million Eton Range Realignment upgrade with the Federal Government and had replaced five bridges along the Peak Downs Highway.