Leading North Queensland transport operators met with the Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack this week to discuss their concerns about the flood-prone sections of the Bruce Highway.
Major flooding and serious crashes between Cairns and Mackay since Christmas have had a crippling effect on some trucking operations of late.
Just this week, Hinchinbrook Shire Council was forced to set up a staging area for truckies stranded as flooding closed the highway.
At a media conference in Townsville yesterday, McCormack said he met with concerned operators, pictured below, at the behest of Queensland Senator Susan McDonald, a vocal lobbyist for the region’s infrastructure and roading priorities.
“It was very instructive to hear from those transport operators, three of them in the room and one of them on the telephone, to hear about their experiences,” said McCormack, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.
“Some of them have had drivers holed up and unable to move. That costs money. It costs those small business operators money because sometimes they’ve got perishable goods in the back of their B-doubles, sometimes they obviously then have to meet with their logbook requirements.
“It is an imposition on them. That’s why the federal government, as part of our $110 billion record amount of infrastructure money that we’re investing in the nation, we’ve got $10 billion set aside for the Bruce Highway upgrades.
McCormack said he’s more than willing to discuss with Mark Bailey, the Queensland Transport Minister, the flood plain issues he’s been made away of this week.
“So we can get the Bruce what it needs to be. It’s one of our most vital linkage roads, of course it is.”
“We need to get the best possible fruit and vegetables and other produce that Queensland has to other states and to markets and to ports.
“So that’s what it’s all about and more than willing and happy to work with the Queensland Government to bring about that.”