More than $220 million in Federal funding will be brought forward as the Gillard Labor Government pulls out all the stops to get the work done on a number of major road projects in regional Queensland.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the decision to make early payments on four projects coincides with the release of new figures which show infrastructure spending in regional Queensland will this year be almost double what it was during the last full year of the Howard Government (see table below).
“Labor is making sure the State’s rural and regional communities get their fair share of the nation’s wealth,” said Mr Albanese.
“Indeed the amount of Federal infrastructure dollars now flowing into these communities is far greater than anything ever provided by my predecessors in the former government, all of whom came from the National Party.
“As well as upgrading key sections of the Bruce Highway and other major regional roads, we are also building more rest stops for truck drivers, fixing dangerous black spots on local country roads and helping to keep remote airstrips operational.”
|Major Road Projects:||$723 million||$359 million||Up 101%|
|Roads to Recovery Program:
(Funding goes directly to councils to help them maintain their local roads)
|$55 million||$48 million||Up 14%|
|Black Spot Program:
(Funding to fix dangerous intersections or small sections of road)
|$6 million||$5 million||Up 20%|
|Heavy Vehicle Program:
(Funding to build rest stops and the other roadside facilities used by truck drivers)
|TOTAL:||$788 million||$412 million||Up 91%|
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan said the decision to bring forward funding underscores the urgency this Federal Labor Government has placed on tackling the infrastructure backlog we inherited.
In the short term, delivery of these nation building projects will create activity and support jobs in the non-residential construction sector which has been experiencing tough times in our patchwork economy,” said Mr Swan.
The projects set to benefit from the bringing forward of funding are:
- Warrego Highway Upgrade (Blacksoil Interchange): $34 million brought forward, with work expected to start in 2012.
The project will build a new interchange at the intersection between the Warrego and Brisbane Valley Highways to allow the vehicles using one to pass safely through it without having to negotiate or wait for the vehicles using the other.
Once completed in 2013, the new interchange will improve safety, ease congestion and speed up the movement of freight to and from the Port of Brisbane as well as the multi-billion dollar resource developments occurring in the Surat Basin.
- Bruce Highway Upgrade (Southern Approach to Cairns): $72 million brought forward, with work now underway.
The project will construct an additional inbound lane through the southern suburbs of Cairns; install new overpasses; eliminate existing level crossings; improve access to service roads; provide better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.
Once completed in 2013, the improvements will deliver safer, faster and less congested driving conditions as well as better access to the City’s growing southern suburbs.
- Bruce Highway Upgrade (Calliope Crossroads): $80 million brought forward, with work expected to start in 2012.
The project will build a new interchange at the intersection between the Bruce and Dawson Highways, near Gladstone, to allow the vehicles using one to pass safely through it without having to negotiate or wait for the vehicles using the other.
Once completed in 2013, the new interchange will improve safety, ease congestion and speed up the movement of freight across the region.
- Yeppen Roundabout and Bridge Upgrade: $35 million brought forward, with work expected to start in 2012.
The project, just south of Rockhampton, will add an additional lane to the roundabout and construct a new slip lane from the Capricorn Highway to the Bruce Highway as well as erect a new, higher two lane bridge across the Yeppen Lagoon.
Once completed in 2013, the improvements will enhance safety, ease localised traffic congestion and reduce the chances of the Bruce Highway being again cut at this location by rising flood waters.
From Cape York in the north to the Gold Coast in the south, the Gillard Labor Government is investing a record $8.6 billion from its Nation Building Program to put in place the modern, well-planned infrastructure critical to making Queensland even more prosperous and its economy even more productive.