House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Statements by Members

Dawson Electorate: Infrastructure

1:53 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Back in the real world, when the Labor government was booted out of office in 2013, the Bruce Highway was ranked the 22nd most dangerous highway in the world, based on the World Health Organization's Global status report on world safety: time for action. That's why the Liberal-National government committed a record Bruce Highway infrastructure investment at the 2013 election and subsequently included it in the 2014 budget.

The highest priority for North Queenslanders was the Horton River Bridge in the Burdekin. It is a very high and narrow crossing with no side rails. I'm pleased to say that this Liberal-National government signed off a few months ago on more than $410 million in funding not only to replace the Horton River Bridge but to improve flood immunity along a 13.5-kilometre stretch of the highway. I understand geotech work is about to start ahead of a major work later this year. I've been pushing for this dangerous bridge to be fixed since 2012, when we were still in opposition, and I've previously been told that the work couldn't begin until 2019, so I'm delighted that the time frame for construction has been brought forward and we're going to see a safer Bruce Highway sooner.

On a sadder note, I want to say that three lives were lost in a tragic accident north of Bowen yesterday and another life was lost south of Bloomsbury, all on the Bruce Highway. My electorate includes 400 kilometres of the 1,700-kilometre-long highway, which is why I have placed and will continue to place a high priority on safety upgrades for the Bruce.