Sep 1, 2018

Media Release – $500 Million for Better Rural and Regional Roads in Queensland – Saturday, 1 September, 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $500 million to deliver a staged upgrade of Queensland’s inland road network, meaning up to 3000 kilometres of better, safer roads and up to 300 wider, stronger bridges.

Labor’s plan will get the arteries of regional and rural Queensland pumping again, it will make it easier for farmers to move cattle and sheep and feed, and it will put the regions at the heart of our infrastructure plan. It will also mean tourists can better and more easily explore the towns of Western Queensland.

This massive project has been estimated to create over 13,000 direct and indirect jobs in Queensland over the next decade, along with an additional $2.5 billion economic boost to the regional Queensland economy.

Half of Queensland’s economy activity takes place outside of Brisbane – Queensland is Australia’s most decentralised state – but for too long crucial regional roads have not received the attention they deserve:

• the Barkly Highway between Mt Isa and Cloncurry
• the Capricorn Highway between Emerald and Rocky
• the Mitchell Highway from Cunnamulla to Charleville
• the Kennedy Highway between Cairns and Mareeba
Queensland transports the greatest volume of cattle by road compared to any other state and makes up for half of Australia’s cattle herd. The industry employs around 20,000 Queenslanders. This investment not only improves safety on key freight routes but will also help reduce the cost of transporting cattle to market.

This investment is a big boost for the Queensland economy; particularly regions feeling the impact of the drought.

When regional roads get neglected, drivers’ safety gets put at risk, truckies are forced to go the long way round, flood damage is a bigger problem than it ought to be and the same few reliable roads suffer wear and tear.

Just like every infrastructure project a Shorten LaborGovernment invests in, we will insist on Australian materials, Australian jobs and we’ll make sure one out of every ten people working on site is an Australian apprentice.

Today’s $500 million announcement is just one part of Labor’s Plan for Real Jobs in Regional Queensland. We will:

• Widen the Townsville Port Channel ($75 million)
• Extend the Bruce Highway to Cairns Airport ($40million)
• Deliver the Rookwood Weir ($176 million)
• Invest $100 million in Townsville Water Security and $200 million in the Burdekin Dam
• Help build Stage 2 of the Mackay Ring Road ($100million)
• Construct the Rockhampton Levee ($25 million)
• Upgrade the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road ($47.5million)
• Help build the Gladstone Port Access Road  ($100million)

Federal Labor’s commitment to making this substantial investment in Queensland’s vital inland roads and highways follows the strong advocacy and work of the Inland Queensland Roads Action Project, which brings together 28 local governments, five Regional Development Australia committees, and the RACQ.