Warren Entsch has Bruce Highway rage
WARREN Entsch says the Newman Government's plan to fix the Bruce Highway should be condemned, and he wasted his time helping them with it.
His comments have sparked an internal struggle in the Liberal National Party, with senior State Government figures nervous the federal Coalition is distancing itself from funding obligations on the Bruce.
In April, Premier Campbell Newman invited Mr Entsch to join the ``Bruce Highway Crisis Management Group'', which last month released a report calling on Canberra to help fund billions of dollars in repairs.
Mr Entsch has condemned the 10-page report in a letter to his federal colleagues, saying it does not represent the needs of the Far North and he was only appointed to the group as ``window dressing''.
Mr Entsch declined The Cairns Post's request for comment yesterday, but his letter makes it clear he was dissatisfied with the way his views were adopted in the final report.
"I am buggered if I can see any value in our contribution and can only come to the conclusion that the invitation to be part of this group was only window dressing and from my perspective, a complete waste of time,'' he wrote.
"With bulls.... motherhood statements that do not reflect the concerns of my region in my view the report will be soundly and justifiably condemned.''
The Newman Government wants an assurance from federal colleagues that a Coalition government in Canberra would bring forward $5 billion in funding for the upgrades in the group's report.
"I hope this is not a sign that a federal Coalition government would back away from their responsibility to properly fund this national highway,'' Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said.
Cairns MP Gavin King said it was never the responsibility of Mr Entsch and the Crisis Management Group to do the "heavy lifting'' of the report.
"It's not Warren's place to be involved in the technical engineering side of things,'' Mr King said, adding that was the work of a separate "Technical Advisory Group''.
"I'd like to see Warren ensuring we have the $5 billion we need from the Federal Government to roll out this plan.''
The State Government is willing to spend $1 billion over 10 years on Bruce Highway upgrades as long as the Commonwealth puts up $5 billion during the same period.
The State Opposition seized on Mr Entsch's comments, saying the LNP Government had never been genuine about putting $1 billion on the table.
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Window dressing: Warren Entsch attacks plans for the Bruce Highway.