Toowoomba Second Range Crossing funding a solid commitment
25 September 2014
Acting Prime Minister
Funding for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project remains a priority commitment for the Australian Government.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the Australian Government was the major funder of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, having committed up to $1.285 billion to the major infrastructure project.
“Those funds will be delivered in accordance with the relevant Commonwealth and Queensland legislation and the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Queensland Treasurer and myself,” Mr Truss said.
“It now appears that Queensland is asking the Australian Government to provide a further $123 million to the project—despite the State projecting a surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars on toll revenue for itself. It also appears that Queensland plans to defer its own expenditure on the project for eight years.
“It is essential that Queensland's proposal achieves the best value for money outcome for all Australians—and no such judgement can be made based on the scant information so far provided by Queensland.
“To enable a full assessment, the Australian Government has been seeking access for many months to the funding model Queensland is using to test financing assumptions for this project. This information has not been forthcoming.
“This week's letter to the Queensland Treasury is the latest of several letters requesting this information.”
Mr Truss said, with the Australian Government providing 80 per cent of total project funding, the request to access the Queensland Government funding model for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is completely reasonable.
“It is a basic requirement for funding of any project of this nature,” he said.
“Indeed, it is quite properly a requirement under Commonwealth legislation. The project will also require assessment by Infrastructure Australia and, to date, insufficient information has been provided to enable any reasonable judgement to be made whether the proposed funding model delivers the best value for money.
“Australian taxpayers would be unimpressed if the Government did not test the assumptions proposed by the Queensland Government and try to work with them to achieve the best value for money—especially as Queensland seems to now be asking for more Federal money for the project.
“The Queensland Government can very quickly address these concerns by providing the required material to the Australian Government.
“It will probably take the Australian Government about a week to evaluate and respond to the financial model proposed by Queensland. This could have been done months ago had Projects Queensland been willing to cooperate.”
The Australian Government has committed $13.4 billion to Queensland infrastructure.
Projects funded via Australian Government investment valued at $12.1 billion, managed in cooperation with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, are proceeding smoothly and efficiently.
Under the management of Projects Queensland, this project is the only one causing difficulties.
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project will involve the construction of a bypass route to the north of Toowoomba, approximately 41 kilometres in length, running from the Warrego Highway at Helidon in the east, to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west.