Newman pushes tunnel, highway and bypass at COAG meeting

PREMIER Campbell Newman made sure Prime Minister Tony Abbott knew the Bruce Highway, Toowoomba Bypass and Brisbane's Cross River Rail and bus project were Queensland's top infrastructure priorities today.

Mr Newman was in Canberra with Mr Abbott and other state and territory leaders for the final Council of Australian Governments meeting of 2013.

While a range of issues were discussed, Mr Abbott said bringing forward major infrastructure projects was one of the biggest issues for the meeting.

Reiterating his desire to be known as an "infrastructure Prime Minister", he said all jurisdictions told him about the big projects they needed most urgently in each state.

Mr Newman also confirmed he made it clear that bringing forward upgrades to the Bruce Highway, Toowoomba Bypass and the Cross River rail and bus projects were the "top three" for Queensland.

While Mr Abbott has not promised any of those projects would be fast-tracked ahead of existing schedules, the Council commissioned "urgent work" to accelerate big projects, especially through the planning and approvals processes.

He said he would also have "more to say" early next week about what the Commonwealth planned to do to push forward some major projects.

Mr Abbott's comments follow similar comments from Treasurer Joe Hockey in recent weeks, who has said the government was focused on stimulating "productive infrastructure investment" to drive productivity growth.

It is understood several major projects, including the Bruce Highway and Toowoomba Bypass, are on the table to be fast-tracked, but the government has not announced anything publicly yet.


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