Cost cutting could hinder hwy upgrade
COST-saving measures across government departments will be a major impediment for the ongoing upgrade of the Bruce Highway.
Following the first meeting of the Bruce Highway Crisis Management Group in Brisbane on Thursday, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney conceded the government's strenuous drive to cut costs in all sectors could hinder the progress of the arterial road's upgrade.
"The financial situation is going to be a major impediment to catching up on upgrades to the Bruce Highway," he said.
"But it also highlights the importance of making the best use of the money we are able to allocate towards infrastructure.
"Because the financial restraint is there, and it is a big financial restraint, it makes it even more imperative to get the planning right, to get the projects designed right and get the best value for money."
The crisis group, made up of regional mayors, MPs and road stakeholder groups, was established to solve the Bruce Highway debacle.
At Thursday's meeting, the group decided an agreed program of works was the foremost priority.
The program will be a five-year plan for the Bruce Highway agreed upon by the state and federal governments.
Mr Seeney said a secondary five-year plan, which would be open for revision on a rolling basis, would be incorporated in the agreed program of works.
"This is the sort of planning that is responsible and has been missing from the federally-funded roads in Queensland, which goes a long way to show why the Bruce Highway is in crisis," he said.
While a prioritisation of upgrade projects is yet to be established, Mr Seeney admitted it would be the most difficult task for the crisis group.
"Every community has its priorities and even (Thursday's) discussion was about the priorities for the different communities all the way up the coast," he said.
The crisis group is scheduled to deliver their report within six months.
The plan for action will be put to the Federal Government for approval.
The crisis group is expected to hold another meeting in two months time, Mr Seeney said.