Labor pledges half a billion for roads as Shorten makes Queensland pivotal in his pitch for power

Bill Shorten says Queensland will be crucial to Labor seizing power at the next election, pledging half a billion dollars towards upgrading the state's roads.

Speaking to the party faithful at the Queensland Labor conference, Mr Shorten promised an upgrade of the "inland road network" would include works on 3,000 kilometres of road, and improvements to up to 300 bridges across the state.

The Opposition Leader declared he would visit "every part" of the Queensland to make his pitch to voters before they head to the polls for the federal election, which will be held in the next 12 months.

"We have to win Queensland from the suburbs to the regions," he said.

Mr Shorten singled out the Barkly, Capricorn, Mitchell and Kennedy Highways as roads that would be upgraded as part of the $500 million plan. He said the project would create up to 13,000 jobs.

His other infrastructure promises included widening the M1 between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, extending the Bruce Highway to the Cairns Airport, and widening the Port of Townsville.

'What is the go with the au pairs?'

The Opposition Leader also took the opportunity to hit out at his Coalition rivals, taking aim at Peter Dutton over his failed leadership bid and handling of several au pair visa cases.

"Peter Dutton is in all sorts of trouble. Seriously, what is the go with the au pairs?" he said, to laughter and applause.

"Who would have thought that such an arch-conservative … was secretly working towards a nanny state?

"Despite all the shambles, the narcissistic selfishness on the other side … there's not one shred of complacency in me or my team. I take nothing for granted."

Meanwhile, Nita Green was confirmed as Labor's top Queensland Senate pick for the next election after she emerged victorious from an internal factional battle.

Six of Queensland's 12 Senate positions will be up for grabs at the next election, and Labor will be hopeful of winning at least two seats.

Ms Green, from the Left faction, will be first on the ticket and would be a replacement for Claire Moore, who is retiring.

Chris Ketter from the Right faction, who is currently a senator, will take the second spot on the ticket, followed by Frank Gilbert from the Old Guard faction.

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