Keeping promises

There’s nothing like an election to bring out extensive promises on road upgrades and new construction to take the country forward, but one has to ask, will we see funding allocated to bring our road network up to scratch in the near future?

Tony Abbott put road funding high on the Coalition’s election promises, pledging vast amounts of money (though never enough) to upgrade some of our most vital links. The highway that comes first to mind is the Bruce, Queensland’s major freight and tourism route that has an appalling record when it comes to road fatality statistics.

The Bruce Highway is also renowned for flooding during wet weather, isolating communities and cities for long periods of time and making it impossible for trucks to deliver the most vital of supplies. The Coalition promised $6.7 billion to be allocated over the next 10 years, which will do much to improve the road, but will we see monies available?

There has also been a pledge of $5.6 billion to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway, a long overdue project that has already proven to be of value in terms of saving human life. The Pacific too has been responsible for considerable road trauma impacting on many, and duplication completed so far has seen a drastic reduction in accidents.

But improving highway conditions will not only address the road toll; it will also deliver huge economic benefits, something certainly not lost on Australian road transport operators. Pacific Highway upgrades have reduced travel times for trucks and lowered operating costs impacting on the country’s future.

The real problem in terms of forging ahead with highway upgrades and duplication is the amount of funding available with low cash reserves in government coffers. Government promises must be turned into reality if we are to keep pace and grow development in line with our needs as a nation. Highway corridors are vital links across our country and we must see investment in infrastructure in order to maintain growth.

Governments must work diligently to focus on the future and roads again need to be at the top of the priority list so we can all move forward.

Many years ago, a road transport operator made the statement: “Roads are for commerce and tourists run a poor second in order of importance”. Times have changed dramatically since those words were uttered, as tourism is today a major contributor to the economy, which signals those using the roads are in fact part of the commercial face of this country, but this too highlights the need to continue building our highway networks to better standards.

It’s a matter of the Government honouring election promises and giving us the investment in roads we in Australia badly need. It should not be when but how soon!

 

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