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Inaugural Bruce Highway Trust meeting on the Sunshine Coast

Mark Bailey at Bruce Highway Trust first meeting.

Minister Mark Bailey at Bruce Highway Trust first meeting.

The Queensland Government has officially launched a key cornerstone of its Future-Proofing the Bruce plan with the first meeting of the Bruce Highway Trust Advisory Council.

The Trust brings together leaders of Queensland’s peak transport and industry bodies to drive a long-term vision for jobs and upgrades on Queensland’s longest road, the 1,679 kilometre long Bruce Highway.

Members of the Trust gathered today on the Sunshine Coast for their first meeting to develop a strategy and rolling five year action plans for the highway, which stretches from Brisbane’s north to Cairns.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the formation of the Trust would take the politics out the Bruce and lock in a pipeline of jobs for the Sunshine State as it bounces back from COVID-19.

“You only have to look at the projects happening right now on the Bruce like the $481m Edmonton to Gordonvale upgrade or $497m Mackay Ring Road to see what can happen when all levels of government work together,” Mr Bailey said.

“The Bruce Highway is Queensland’s backbone that millions of Queenslanders depend on. It connects locals in growing regional centres, and is the state’s economic artery, moving freight between our ports and regional communities, and from paddocks and pits to export markets.

There’s currently $12.6 billion in joint-funding locked in for the Bruce Highway right now and that’s helping to build major job creating, congestion busting projects like:

“But we know more can be done, and that’s why the Palaszczuk Government committed to creating the Trust to ensure vital freight and transport networks are secured for generations to come.

“The global economy has been hit hard by COVID-19, but Queensland’s strong health response to-date means we are well placed to continue implementing our plan to Unite and Recover for Queensland jobs, which includes kick starting the work of the Bruce Highway Trust.

Based on 80:20 funding arrangements, the rolling five-year action plans will identify upgrades to the Bruce Highway which are most important to Queenslanders, for future federal and state government funding consideration.

Mr Bailey said the advisory council was chaired by Peter Garske.

“Mr Garske is a director of the Queensland Transport and Logistics Council and former chief executive of the Queensland Trucking Association, and previous Deputy Chair of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator” he said.

“The deputy chair role is Barbara Madden, company director of the Smithfield Group who has considering experience.”

Bruce Highway Trust Advisory Council Chair Peter Garske said the Bruce Highway was critically important to the broad economic and social wellbeing of all Queenslanders.

“Members of the Bruce Highway Trust Advisory Council have the expertise to assist state and federal governments to achieve the goals of unlocking economic growth, building flood resilience and improving safety through targeted investment on this vital economic spine,” Mr Garske said.

“I look forward to drawing on my experience as Queensland Transport and Logistics Council Director and many years working in the industry, to bring an industry perspective to my responsibilities as Chair of the Advisory Council.”

Membership of the Bruce Highway Trust Advisory Council:

Transport and Main Roads Director-General Neil Scales and Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications Secretary Simon Atkinson will also participate on the advisory council to provide subject matter and governance expertise.