Pacific Highway upgrade
Pacific Highway upgrade

Qld announcement revives Pacific Hwy funding battle

THE Federal Government has revealed a double standard by agreeing to fund 80% of work on Queensland's Bruce Highway, Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan has said.

The announcement comes despite the Commonwealth's long insistence the NSW Government cover half the cost of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

The Federal and NSW governments have now been duelling for several years over who pays what for the Pacific Highway, with the Commonwealth repeatedly insisting the 80/20 funding split used before the 2011 NSW election was fuelled largely by the global financial crisis.

Nationals candidate for Page, Kevin Hogan, at his family home in Clunes.
Nationals candidate for Page, Kevin Hogan, at his family home in Clunes. DAVID NIELSEN

They have said funding for the Pacific Highway upgrade should now revert to the 50/50 split favoured under John Howard.

The dispute has trashed the 2016 deadline for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway, laid out in 2007.

However, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has now agreed to cover 80% of the cost of upgrading the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane, stumping up $4 billion - $500 million more than the Federal Government has set aside for the Pacific Highway - for Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's $1 billion.

"They are happy to pay 80/20 in Queensland for their Highway, but are refusing the same funding to the Pacific Highway," Mr Hogan said.

"If 80/20 is good enough for the Bruce, it has to be good enough for the Pacific.

"This calls into question repeated claims from Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Page MP Janelle Saffin that these projects should be funded 50:50.

"It has been exposed as a baseless excuse for Labor's stalling on desperately needed Pacific Highway upgrades.

"The Federal Coalition has committed to the 80:20 funding split to get the Pacific Highway done, and Labor's point blank refusal to match that commitment has now lost all credibility.

"Under Labor the Pacific Highway is $2.1 billion underfunded, under the coalition all the money is fully accounted for and will be completed well within the decade."

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