JUST as she did in January, 2011, Julia Gillard chose her words carefully.
But you need to when you're talking about a $1 billion-plus Bruce Highway upgrade for Rockhampton: A critical project in a state of limbo due to a State and Federal disagreement over the Yeppen Flood Plain study - and a controversial recommendation for the city's future transport needs.
The Prime Minister visited Rockhampton this week for the first time since flying into the city by Blackhawk helicopter last year when we were cut off by one of the biggest Fitzroy River floods in recorded history.
Back in January, 2011, at a crowded press conference in the disaster management centre at Rockhampton City Hall, the Prime Minister refused to commit to flood-proofing the southern approaches to the city.
On Wednesday, we picked up on the Flood Proof the Bruce issue.
She spoke favourably about Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore's transport corridor vision for the city, and while not committing to funding such a project at this time, indicated that once approved, it would be supported under the $6 billion RIF and nation building funding
"How far away are we from it being done?'' she was asked by Bully editor Frazer Pearce, referring to a draft recommendation for a five-year time frame to raise the critical 3.5km Bruce Highway section from Egans Hill - a time frame that is not acceptable to this newspaper or community.
Ms Gillard said it was a billion dollar question she couldn't answer.
"I can't make multi-billion dollar funding decisions on the hypothetical, but what I can say is we are obviously sensitive to the needs of the mining communities' regions and centres of growth, otherwise we would not have taken the decision to (establish the mining tax-funded $6 billion RIF) to go back to mining regions.
She did indicate support for Ms Livermore's vision of a transport corridor crossing the Fitzroy River south of the city, a vision that would divert the $600m cost of the Egans Hill stage and apply it to the Livermore route.
"From what Kirsten is saying, realistically, very expensive projects are often realised a section at a time,'' Ms Gillard said.
"That is a common way of doing planning and building. But what you then need is to be confident about it when you set out and do stage 1 that it will fit with stage 2 and that will fit with stage 3.
"You don't want to be there at the end of stage 1 saying if only we had done X stage 2 would have been $200m cheaper.
"I think Kirsten Livermore is right to be challenging people to think about the overall (picture), even if that means the first piece to be realised is a piece that is not much different from what people are thinking about now."
She said it was vital Rockhampton made the best decision for its future needs and not regret a planning mistake made by other cities like Brisbane and Sydney.
During the interview Ms Livermore indicated that if the other key stakeholders (Main Roads and the State Government) could not be convinced to divert the highway south of the city, she would accept the decision to raise the Egans Hill section as stage 1 of the new corridor.
"Fine, but (first) let's think about what could be achieved," she said.
For now, Rockhampton will have to be patient, but still confident this will be done.