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Report reignites spending battles

Meanwhile, the desperately-needed Pacific Highway upgrade – worth between $6.4 billion and $7.7 billion – returns to the priority list as the NSW government keeps fighting for a better funding deal with the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the desperately-needed Pacific Highway upgrade – worth between $6.4 billion and $7.7 billion – returns to the priority list as the NSW government keeps fighting for a better funding deal with the Federal Government. John Gass

BRISBANE'S ambitious $7 billion Cross River rail tunnel project is now a top priority. But that does not mean it will be score immediate funding, just ask New South Wales.

Infrastructure Australia released its report into where money needed to be spent for the good of the country, with Brisbane's tunnel considered one of the most important.

Meanwhile, the desperately-needed Pacific Highway upgrade - worth between $6.4 billion and $7.7 billion - returns to the priority list as the NSW government keeps fighting for a better funding deal with the Federal Government.

It would create 300km of divided dual-lane roads from Ballina to the Queensland border and to the north and south of Coffs Harbour.

A spokeswoman for NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the areas needed to be more than just a high priority.

"In its recent budget, the Federal Government cut its funding on the Pacific Highway to a 50:50 funding split, cutting $2.3 billion," she said."We have the Federal Government heeds the advice from its own advisory body and increases funding for this vital highway."

Although established by the Federal Government, the IA priority list does not equate to automatic funding. However, the list helps the government consider where best to funnel cash for major projects.

The Brisbane rail project includes the creation of four new underground stations at Albert St in the CBD, Roma St, Wooloongabba and Boggo Rd before resurfacing at Yeerongpilly in the south or Victoria Park in the north.

The second inner-city station would also deliver more space for regional passengers travelling from the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich or Toowoomba.

From Friday's LNP state conference, Premier Campbell Newman raised the subjects of upgrading of the Bruce Highway from Brisbane to Cairns, plus a second range crossing in Toowoomba.In its submissions, Queensland put the Brisbane rail crossing as its top priority.

"I did speak to (Federal Infrastructure Minister) Mr Albanese a couple of days ago and we talked about this and other matters," Mr Newman said.

"I'm hopeful he will take on the state's priorities."

Topics:  infrastructure australia, pacific highway upgrade


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