The embattled Kuranda Range Road is making headlines again today with a Coalition promise of $11 million in funding, however the pledge comes with a major caveat.

Next to being contingent on the Liberal National Party’s re-election in two weeks, the business case will need an extra $11 million from the state government to progress.

Voters are being told the funds will be used to assess possible alternative routes, as well as address critical long-term safety and capacity issues on the existing road.

The announcement comes just weeks after federal Labor promised $210m towards improving the road’s safety through guard rails, lane widening and roadside reinforcements.


Incumbent Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch says the priority is to determine an alternative route, despite a recent state government study finding there was no need for one.  

It forecasted the Kennedy Highway wouldn’t each capacity until 2051.

However another state government report indicated that, on average, the Kuranda Range Road closes 44 times yearly, each time for 6.6 hours.


“It’s easy to throw a bucketful of money at something like the Labor candidate has done,” Mr Entsch said.

“$210 million for more maintenance – that’s like putting lipstick on a pig.

“What we have to do is not look at the Kuranda Range as the solution – we need a proper alternative.

“The reality is you’ll never be able to take B-doubles over 50 tonnes down the Range.

“It will always be dangerous, there will always be problems with falling timber and rocks.

“Most importantly, we’ve had an unacceptable level of cassowary deaths in the past and that will continue on that Range.

“Let’s get the business case done, identify the options and long-term solutions, and get them costed.

“Then we’ll be in a position to put up the funding.”

Labor candidate for Leichhardt Elida Faith has said today her party’s $210m commitment would also include ‘future studies’, though that wasn't made clear at the time of her pledge. 

“[Our] commitment dwarfs today's announcement from Warren Entsch,” she said.

“There have been fatalities and severe hospitalisations on this road, that’s why Labor has a plan to address safety right now, while we also look at future options.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the proposed business case would not fix the road.

“Warren Entsch has had twenty-three years in federal parliament to fix the Kuranda Range Road and has achieved zero,” he said. 

“This last minute election bribe proves his failure and shows how he and Scott Morrison have no idea how to upgrade the road after a decade in power.

“Labor’s Elida Faith and Jason Brandon have got a real plan for Kuranda Range Road.”

road infrastructure
federal election

Main points

  • If re-elected, the Coalition will spend $11m on progressing an alternative route to the Kuranda Range Road, as well as safety upgrades on the existing road 
  • The commitment is also contingent on matched funding from the state government 
  • Early this year, a state government report found there was no need for an alternative route yet
This can can’t be kicked down the road any longer.
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch