Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore face the media near the Yeppen roundabout yesterday.
Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore face the media near the Yeppen roundabout yesterday. Chris Ison

A study in not giving a pledge

FEDERAL Transport Minister Anthony Albanese refused yesterday to pledge to flood-proof the Bruce Highway at Rockhampton, saying he would look at the Yeppen flood plain study first before making a decision.

Mr Albanese visited the Yeppen roundabout with Capricornia MP Kirsten Livermore to promote the government's commitment in the Federal Budget for $40 million to upgrade the Yeppen crossing.

That commitment is conditional on the Mineral Resources Rent tax passing in parliament and funding is currently scheduled for 2014 or 2015 although funding may be brought forward.

In January Prime Minister Julia Gillard blamed a succession of previous governments for failing to act – such as John Howard's – when asked whether the government would make a commitment to flood-proofing the highway.

She said Ms Livermore had secured $5m funding for the Yeppen Flood Plain Study, otherwise known as the Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study, and that should pave a way for a solution.

When asked yesterday whether the government would now commit in the wake of the budget, Mr Albanese again pointed towards the study which is due for completion in at the end of the year.

“You have to have the study first ... You certainly do not provide the answer before you know the question ...”

Mr Albanese said he was “determined to get it right for the long term”.

He said they were talking about “big dollars”. He said he was “hopeful” work would begin on the Yeppen roundabout in the next 12 months.


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