More than $76 million delivered for key northern roads

Media Release

DC098/2017

20 April 2017

Joint release with:

Matthew Canavan

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

The release of $76.26 million in specialist Australian Government funding to upgrade four key roads in north Queensland will improve safety and power the growth and development of industries, businesses and jobs throughout the entire region.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today announced the approval of the funding under the Government's $600 million Northern Australia Roads Programme (NARP).

The projects will also deliver on a key recommendation of the Northern Australia White Paper to increase employment opportunities for local Indigenous people. The four projects aim to achieve a minimum target of 5 per cent Indigenous participation through either employment on site or the use of Indigenous suppliers.

Australian Government funding has been approved for:

Flinders Highway
Townsville to Torrens Creek—Pavement strengthening and widening—$13.6 million
Charters Towers to Richmond—Replacement of seven ageing culverts—$20 million

Kennedy Developmental Road
Mount Garnet-The Lynd—Widen 3.4 kilometres of pavement to two lanes—$2.66 million
The Lynd-Hughenden—Progressive sealing of sections—$40 million

Mr Chester said every dollar invested in the four projects would return economic and social benefits to the nation, and support existing and potential future jobs in northern Australia.

“The Nationals in government are driving a solid agenda of investment in regional Australia, whether it's billions for road and rail projects, bigger and better trade deals or better communications technologies,” Mr Chester said.

“Investing in these four critical road projects will save lives and help unleash the full potential of communities and industries throughout regional Australia, particularly in the north.

“We already know these communities make a huge contribution to our economy, and that the right infrastructure investment by the Government will allow them to achieve even more in terms of productivity.

“The NARP targets high-priority roads essential to the movement of people and freight to help support the north's development. These roads are critical to the success of the beef and resources sectors and industries that may be established in the north in years to come.

“These works form part of the Government's record $50 billion Infrastructure Investment Programme that is building our future, while creating jobs and a more effective national road network.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said the $600 million Northern Australian Roads Programme would improve productivity in the north.

“Travelling long distances is a fact of life in Northern Australia. We're investing in the north's productivity through the $600 million Northern Australia Roads Programme because we understand that to make the most of our opportunities, we need a modern and reliable road network,” Senator Canavan said.

“These projects will make it faster and easier to travel around North Queensland and importantly will also increase the flood immunity of the Kennedy Developmental Road.

“Queenslanders are very familiar with the impact of wild weather, most recently following Tropical Cyclone Debbie. In that case, the Coalition Government's road investments meant for the first time during a major flood, Rockhampton wasn't cut off from the rest of the state.

“Our roads investments do make a difference to local communities and help keep local economies moving, even when the worst of Queensland's weather hits.”

Sealing sections of the Kennedy Developmental Road between the Lynd and Hughenden will also reduce travel times from 37 minutes to 26 minutes over the improved sections.

Construction on each of the four projects is due to start in mid-2017.

Pavement widening between Mount Garnet and the Lynd is expected to be completed by late 2017 and sealing works between the Lynd and Hughenden are expected to be completed in 2020.

Works between Townsville and Torrens Creek are expected to be completed by early 2019, while upgrades to culverts between Charters Towers and Richmond are expected to be completed by late 2019.

The Queensland Government will contribute up to $5 million to the Charters Towers to Richmond works, $3.4 million to the Townsville to Torrens Creek project, $10 million to the Lynd to Hughenden works and $660,000 to the Mount Garnet to the Lynd works.