Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton Latest releases from the Ministers en Call for Expressions of Interest: Indian Ocean Territories Health Service Community Advisory Committee https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/call-expressions-interest-indian-ocean-territories-health-service-community-advisory-committee <p>Community advisory groups are an important mechanism for ensuring local people have their say in how we design and deliver health services in the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) of Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI).</p> <p>After a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the CI and CKI Health Advisory Groups, and their Terms of Reference, I am pleased to announce a merger of the two groups.</p> <p>The new IOT Health Service Community Advisory Committee will consist of 10 community representatives (five each from CI and CKI) and have a broadened scope of work that is aligned with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s <a href="https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/standards/nsqhs-standards/partnering-consumers-standard">Partnering with Consumers Standard</a>.</p> <p>It will operate under revised Terms of Reference, in effect from 1 March 2020 to 31 December 2021.</p> <p>Mrs Natasha Griggs, the Administrator of the Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, will continue her role as Chair.</p> <p>I am seeking Expressions of Interest from IOT residents who are committed to ensuring the continued delivery of high-quality health services to join the new committee.</p> <p>The committee will provide local people the opportunity to contribute to the design, delivery, measurement and evaluation of health services, and inform initiatives to address local health issues, and continuous improvement in service delivery. </p> <p>An information package is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development’s <a href="http://cbr1cms2:246/territories/publications/index.aspx">website</a>, including <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/files/Indian_Ocean_Territories_Health_Service_Community_Advisory_Committee_Terms_of_Reference_March_2020_to_December_2021.pdf">Terms of Reference</a>, and an <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/files/Indian_Ocean_Territories_Health_Service_Community_Advisory_Committee_Request_for_Expressions_of_Interest_January_2020.pdf">application form and privacy statement</a>.</p> <p>I encourage you to submit your Expression of Interest by <strong>11:59pm local (island) time</strong>,<strong> Friday, 28 February 2020</strong>.</p> <p>Completed application forms may be emailed to <a href="mailto:indianoceanterritories@infrastructure.gov.au">indianoceanterritories@infrastructure.gov.au</a> or returned to an IOT Administration Office.</p> <p>The committee will provide recommendations to the newly formed IOT Health Service Governance Advisory Council which has been established to support the management and operation of the IOT Health Service, ensure appropriate governance arrangements, monitor compliance with National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards and provide recommendations on improvements or changes that may be needed.</p> <p>The IOT Health Service Governance Advisory Council will be made up of senior Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development staff including the Executive Director of Territories and the IOT Health Service’s Chief Medical Officer, an external health administrator and a CI and CKI representative from the IOT Health Service Community Advisory Committee.</p> <p>The new committee and council will ensure a collaborative approach with consumers to effectively and efficiently deliver high quality health services that meet the needs of the communities of CI and CKI.</p> <p>I would like to thank members of the previous CI and CKI Health Advisory Groups for their service over the past two years and their role in increasing communication between the IOT Health Service and their communities.</p> Marino Call for Expressions of Interest: Indian Ocean Territories Health Service Community Advisory Committee New affordable accommodation for Tasmanians with disability https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/tudge/media-release/new-affordable-accommodation-tasmanians-disability <p>More Tasmanians will have access to social housing with the opening today of the first of 27 new specially designed homes for people with disability.</p> <p>The $6 million accommodation package, produced in conjunction with the Supported Affordable Accommodation Trust, is part of the Australian Government’s commitments under the Hobart City Deal. </p> <p>Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the new accommodation was a significant step towards improving housing affordability for vulnerable Tasmanians.</p> <p>“Our priority is to ensure access to housing for those most in need,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“Tasmanians also need a diverse range of housing options and we are working towards delivering that.” </p> <p>The new accommodation is on track for completion by mid-2021. </p> <p>Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services Luke Howarth said an agreement between the Australian Government and the Supported Affordable Accommodation Trust secured the construction of the development as part of the Hobart City Deal. </p> <p>“27 accessible accommodation units will be built across nine sites for people with disability,” Assistant Minister Howarth said. </p> <p>“These units will help alleviate pressure on the local housing system and provide more Tasmanians with access to affordable and secure accommodation.”</p> <p>“The agreement will enable more people with disability to live an independent life in a home that meets their needs.”</p> <p>Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz said the agreement would serve as an investment for people most in need to be close to major services and amenities.</p> <p>“Assisting those in need is critical to the long term liveability of Hobart,” Senator Abetz said.</p> <p>The Supported Affordable Accommodation Trust received $6 million to build the 27 new specially designed homes, with expected total completion by mid-2021. </p> <p>The Hobart City Deal is a 10-year vision between the Australian Government, the Tasmanian Government and local councils to achieve better outcomes for people living and working in the Greater Hobart region. </p> <p>Funding agreements are already in place with CatholicCare Tasmania, Community Housing Limited and Housing Choices Tasmania to deliver more than 100 affordable homes in the Greater Hobart region.</p> <p>Information about the Hobart City Deal is available on the <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/cities/city-deals/hobart/">Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development's website</a>.</p> Tudge New affordable accommodation for Tasmanians with disability Woolgoolga to Ballina milestone reached https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/woolgoolga-ballina-milestone-reached <p>Australia’s largest regional road infrastructure project, the Pacific Highway upgrade, has reached a new milestone with the Woolgoolga to Ballina leg of the project now 85 percent complete.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said 2020 would be the year of openings for the project as the final link in the Pacific Highway upgrade comes to a close. </p> <p>"The past 12 months have been huge with about eight kilometres of dual carriageway opened to traffic by December, including the iconic new bridge over the Clarence River at Harwood," Mr McCormack said. </p> <p>"The upgrade is on track to be completed by the end of 2020 and new sections will continue to open progressively as they are completed." </p> <p>NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade would take 25 minutes off journey times once complete and contribute to smoother, safer and more reliable trips along the North Coast.</p> <p>"With the opening of the bridge at Harwood last year, we are really moving into the final leg of the project," Mr Toole said.</p> <p>"The new bridge is the longest crossing on the upgrade and opened as part of a four kilometre section of road between Farlows Flat and Serpentine Channel. </p> <p>"The team worked hard to have the new section of highway opened before the end of the year, allowing holidaymakers to get to their destination faster and with fewer delays."</p> <p>NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads and Infrastructure and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the new bridge had been well received by locals.</p> <p>"Motorists are enjoying the smooth journey over the bridge, as traffic is no longer required to stop for bridge lifts for vessels on the river," Mr Gulaptis said. </p> <p>Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the upgraded highway would continue to open in stages as completed. </p> <p>"We appreciate the community is eager to know when new sections are expected to open and we will keep people informed about the timing and staging of traffic changes," Mr Hogan said. </p> <p>"Construction has progressed at an unprecedented scale and pace since the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade started with more than 3300 workers employed at the highest peak and many more indirect jobs created."</p> <p>The Australian and NSW Liberal and Nationals Governments are jointly funding the $4.95 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade on an 80:20 basis.</p> <p>The latest information on the upgrade is available at <a href="https://www.pacifichighway.nsw.gov.au/">www.pacifichighway.nsw.gov.au</a></p> <p> </p> McCormack Woolgoolga to Ballina milestone reached Construction ramps up on Brisbane Metro https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/tudge/media-release/construction-ramps-brisbane-metro <p>Construction is ramping up on the state-of-the-art Brisbane Metro depot, that will house the fleet of fully-electric vehicles.</p> <p>It is a major milestone for the $944 million Metro project and it will create 165 jobs in construction and more than 185 when it’s opened. </p> <p>Brisbane Metro will provide services every three minutes in peak periods, reducing travel times by up to half, busting congestion and improving the greater public transport network.</p> <p>Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said works on the Rochedale site would include the removal and relocation of a number of buildings. </p> <p>“Construction is underway and this work will continue throughout 2020,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“The Metro project will revolutionise the way Brisbane people travel by doing away with the need for timetables.”</p> <p>Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said a tender was announced for a fleet of fully-electric Metro vehicles and we are now also finalising the depot design to include charging infrastructure for these vehicles.</p> <p>“The depot will be the base for an initial fleet of 60 new electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, maintenance and staff facilities. There is also capacity for future growth at the School Rd location as the Brisbane Metro system expands,” Cr Schrinner said.</p> <p>“This is a major infrastructure development which is expected to start next year and take two years to build, in time for the delivery of the full Metro vehicle fleet,” Cr Schrinner said.</p> <p>Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta said Brisbane commuters were excited to see the Brisbane Metro up and running soon.</p> <p>“Brisbane Metro will have four stops in my electorate of Bonner and I have no doubt once completed we will see thousands of commuters embracing this new public transport infrastructure,” Mr Vasta said.</p> <p>“This project is expected to provide significant benefits right across the Brisbane CBD and Brisbane’s southern suburbs.”</p> <p>Intersection upgrades at the corner of Peel and Merivale Street and Peel Street and Cordelia Street, in South Brisbane and Skew Street and Upper Roma Street in the CBD have already been completed as part of the Brisbane Metro project.</p> <p>Council is finalising the procurement process for the design and construction of the Brisbane Metro depot. The Request for Tender is expected to be released in mid 2020 and awarded by mid to late 2020. </p> <p>The preferred tenderer involving Brisbane-based suppliers Volgren and world-leading electric-vehicle producer HESS to deliver 60 vehicles for the Brisbane Metro was announced in November.</p> <p>The initial pilot vehicle will be housed at Volgren’s Eagle Farm workshop to allow for trials and testing to start in local operating conditions.</p> <p>The project will drive jobs and economic growth, with an extra 40 jobs created in Brisbane for fit-out and maintenance of the Metro vehicles when they are delivered.</p> <p>Flash charging technology at each end of the route will recharge the vehicles in just six minutes, meaning passengers will get home safer and quicker in a Metro vehicle with no tailpipe emissions.</p> <p>The first Metro vehicle will arrive this year for trials and testing.</p> <p>Council is delivering the $944 million fully-funded Brisbane Metro in partnership with the Australian Government.</p> <p>Preliminary works for Brisbane Metro will commence around the Cultural Centre in early 2020.</p> <p>Stage 1 of Brisbane Metro will provide a 21-kilometre service connecting 18 stations along dedicated busways between Eight Mile Plains and Roma Street, and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and University of Queensland. Stage 2 may see services expanded to Carindale in the South East and to Chermside and the Airport in the North.</p> <p>The Australian Government has committed $300 million to the project. </p> Tudge Construction ramps up on Brisbane Metro Moree Inland Rail regional office opens https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/moree-inland-rail-regional-office-opens <p>The Inland Rail Moree Office is now open, providing a greater link between the local community and Government leading up to and throughout the construction of the rail track.</p> <p>Long-time local resident Angela Doering has been appointed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development as the first Inland Rail Regional Liaison Officer (RLO) to be based in Moree to work with communities and local businesses along the alignment.</p> <p>The Moree office will cover Inland Rail from Narrabri in New South Wales to the Queensland border and help locals to identify and connect to the benefits of Inland Rail.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said the office would provide a greater link between community and Government.</p> <p>"Inland Rail is expected to support 5,000 jobs in New South Wales and provide a boost of more than $2.5 billion to the state economy, so it’s vital that we have specialist expertise working with businesses and local communities to connect people to these benefits,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>"This office will provide the opportunity for Moree and surrounding communities to talk directly to Government about regional development outcomes and economic opportunities available ahead of the construction of the next section of Inland Rail – the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS).”</p> <p>Finance Minister Mathias Cormann welcomed the opening of the Moree Office as further evidence of the Government’s commitment to building economic resilience in regional Australia.</p> <p>“Investing in our national freight network will improve connections between our regional communities and important domestic and international markets, ensuring our producers and manufacturers remain globally competitive,” Minister Cormann said.</p> <p>Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton said Moree and the surrounding region is uniquely positioned to drive future freight productivity through road and rail connections to Inland Rail.</p> <p>“Moree is already one of the highest producing agricultural shires in Australia, Narrabri has just successfully launched its Inland Port concept and Gwydir has real aspirations about benefiting from Inland Rail,” Mr Coulton said.</p> <p>“Our investment through Inland Rail builds the essential connections that this region needs to further grow and strengthen their markets, and with the Moree Regional Office now open we can really focus on maximising those outcomes.</p> <p>“I’m thrilled that local resident Angela Doering has been appointed to the Moree office and will be on the ground to support the implementation of Australian Government programs such as the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program and expansion of the CSIRO’s Inland Rail TraNSIT study to model potential Inland Rail cost savings.</p> <p>“No one knows regional towns like the people who live there. It is this local knowledge, the connection to community and the deep understanding of regional strengths and challenges that will improve the delivery of Government services and programs like Inland Rail.</p> <p>“The Moree RLO will work with industry and community during Inland Rail’s planning and design including for the important Macintyre River crossing.</p> <p>“The Moree office demonstrates the Government’s commitment to engage with regional communities through its Decentralisation Agenda, supporting strong and vibrant regional economies through the creation of local jobs, economic diversification and regional growth.</p> <p>“Inland Rail provides the opportunity for further growth and the programs we’re delivering will better connect the region to far-reaching ports through an enhanced national network, creating new supply chains that build prosperity in the region – moving the wheat, barley and produce the region is famous for.”</p> <p>The Moree Office is part of a broader network of Inland Rail Regional Offices and will complement the regional activities of Australian Government staff already established offices in Wodonga, Dubbo and Toowoomba. Inland Rail developer, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, also has a network of local support staff in regional centres.</p> <p>For more information about Inland Rail and the regional offices visit <a href="https://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">www.InlandRail.gov.au</a> </p> McCormack Moree Inland Rail regional office opens Moree Inland Rail regional office opens https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/moree-inland-rail-regional-office-opens <p>The Inland Rail Moree Office is now open, providing a greater link between the local community and Government leading up to and throughout the construction of the rail track.</p> <p>Long-time local resident Angela Doering has been appointed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development as the first Inland Rail Regional Liaison Officer (RLO) to be based in Moree to work with communities and local businesses along the alignment.</p> <p>The Moree office will cover Inland Rail from Narrabri in New South Wales to the Queensland border and help locals to identify and connect to the benefits of Inland Rail.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said the office would provide a greater link between community and Government.</p> <p>"Inland Rail is expected to support 5,000 jobs in New South Wales and provide a boost of more than $2.5 billion to the state economy, so it’s vital that we have specialist expertise working with businesses and local communities to connect people to these benefits,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>"This office will provide the opportunity for Moree and surrounding communities to talk directly to Government about regional development outcomes and economic opportunities available ahead of the construction of the next section of Inland Rail – the Narrabri to North Star (N2NS).”</p> <p>Finance Minister Mathias Cormann welcomed the opening of the Moree Office as further evidence of the Government’s commitment to building economic resilience in regional Australia.</p> <p>“Investing in our national freight network will improve connections between our regional communities and important domestic and international markets, ensuring our producers and manufacturers remain globally competitive,” Minister Cormann said.</p> <p>Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton said Moree and the surrounding region is uniquely positioned to drive future freight productivity through road and rail connections to Inland Rail.</p> <p>“Moree is already one of the highest producing agricultural shires in Australia, Narrabri has just successfully launched its Inland Port concept and Gwydir has real aspirations about benefiting from Inland Rail,” Mr Coulton said.</p> <p>“Our investment through Inland Rail builds the essential connections that this region needs to further grow and strengthen their markets, and with the Moree Regional Office now open we can really focus on maximising those outcomes.</p> <p>“I’m thrilled that local resident Angela Doering has been appointed to the Moree office and will be on the ground to support the implementation of Australian Government programs such as the Inland Rail Interface Improvement Program and expansion of the CSIRO’s Inland Rail TraNSIT study to model potential Inland Rail cost savings.</p> <p>“No one knows regional towns like the people who live there. It is this local knowledge, the connection to community and the deep understanding of regional strengths and challenges that will improve the delivery of Government services and programs like Inland Rail.</p> <p>“The Moree RLO will work with industry and community during Inland Rail’s planning and design including for the important Macintyre River crossing.</p> <p>“The Moree office demonstrates the Government’s commitment to engage with regional communities through its Decentralisation Agenda, supporting strong and vibrant regional economies through the creation of local jobs, economic diversification and regional growth.</p> <p>“Inland Rail provides the opportunity for further growth and the programs we’re delivering will better connect the region to far-reaching ports through an enhanced national network, creating new supply chains that build prosperity in the region – moving the wheat, barley and produce the region is famous for.”</p> <p>The Moree Office is part of a broader network of Inland Rail Regional Offices and will complement the regional activities of Australian Government staff already established offices in Wodonga, Dubbo and Toowoomba. Inland Rail developer, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, also has a network of local support staff in regional centres.</p> <p>For more information about Inland Rail and the regional offices visit <a href="https://www.inlandrail.gov.au/">www.InlandRail.gov.au</a> </p> Coulton Moree Inland Rail regional office opens Immediate financial support for bushfire affected communities https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/immediate-financial-support-bushfire-affected-communities <p>The Australian Government will provide an initial and immediate base payment of $1 million to 42 of the most severely bushfire impacted councils in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to help quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience.</p> <p>A further $18 million will be set aside to provide additional support to larger council areas which have experienced the most significant damage, with the National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin working with state governments and impacted local councils on determining this additional allocation. </p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government was committed to working hand in hand with regional communities to rebuild towns and villages.</p> <p>“These payments will provide immediate assistance directly into the hands of local councils to rebuild roads and infrastructure, employ staff to help in recovery activities and hold events which bring the community together and bring tourists back to town,” the Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“We are moving immediately to support local councils and our funding will be in state government bank accounts by tomorrow.</p> <p>“Importantly this is a base payment and just the start of our support for local communities, in what we know will be a long recovery.”</p> <p>Funding will be directed to councils which have been ‘activated’ by their respective state government for Category C bushfire disaster recovery relief under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Payments will not require matched funding from state governments.</p> <p>Currently there are 40 councils across Australia in receipt of Category C assistance, including 33 in New South Wales, five in Queensland and two in South Australia (list attached).</p> <p>Funding will also be provided to the Local Government Areas of East Gippsland and Towong in Victoria in recognition of an imminent request from the Victorian Government for Category C assistance for these severely impacted regions.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government was backing regional communities to rebuild and recover.</p> <p>“We have always known regional communities are Australia’s most resilient and in the devastation of these fires we have seen again the remarkable community spirit existing in our regions, said the Deputy Prime Minister.</p> <p>“The immediate payments to councils will boost affected economies by supporting local small businesses, farmers and trades as they rebuild, restock, replant and recover.”</p> <p>Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the focus would be on supporting local communities.</p> <p>“I’ve made it clear this won’t be a Canberra led recovery, it’ll be a locally led recovery and this is our first instalment in that process. We’re empowering local governments to be part of that process today. We’re committed to rebuilding communities but also the lives of those impacted by these devastating fires,” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>All funds will be drawn from the $2 billion allocated to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and this is in addition to funding that is automatically available to councils through other disaster recovery arrangements.</p> <p>The lump sum payments will be delivered by the Commonwealth by the close of business tomorrow to State Governments who administer payments to councils.</p> <p>The only condition placed on councils is that they develop a Program of Works within three months and report back to the Commonwealth in 12 months’ time.</p> <p>Councils will be able to spend their $1 million payments on projects and activities that they deem essential for the recovery and renewal of their communities, including:</p> <ul> <li>Rebuilding damaged or destroyed council assets such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities;</li> <li>Employing additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help coordinate and plan the rebuilding effort;</li> <li>Hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions; and</li> <li>Immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.</li> </ul> <p>Councils to receive assistance</p> <p><strong>NSW</strong><br /> Armidale<br /> Ballina<br /> Bega Valley<br /> Bellingen<br /> Blue Mountains<br /> Byron<br /> Central Coast<br /> Cessnock<br /> Clarence Valley<br /> Eurobodalla<br /> Glenn Innes Severn<br /> Hawkesbury<br /> Inverell<br /> Kempsey<br /> Kyogle<br /> Lismore<br /> Lithgow<br /> Mid-Coast<br /> Mid-Western<br /> Nambucca<br /> Port Macquarie-Hastings<br /> Queanbeyan-Palerang<br /> Richmond Valley<br /> Shoalhaven<br /> Singleton<br /> Snowy Monaro<br /> Snowy Valleys<br /> Tenterfield<br /> Tweed<br /> Walcha<br /> Wingecarribee<br /> Wollondilly</p> <p><strong>QLD</strong><br /> Livingstone<br /> Noosa<br /> Scenic Rim<br /> Southern Downs<br /> Sunshine Coast</p> <p><strong>SA</strong><br /> Adelaide Hills<br /> Kangaroo Island</p> <p><strong>VIC</strong><br /> East Gippsland <br /> Towong<br />  </p> McCormack Immediate financial support for bushfire affected communities Immediate financial support for bushfire affected communities https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/littleproud/media-release/immediate-financial-support-bushfire-affected-communities <p>The Australian Government will provide an initial and immediate base payment of $1 million to 42 of the most severely bushfire impacted councils in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to help quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience.</p> <p>A further $18 million will be set aside to provide additional support to larger council areas which have experienced the most significant damage, with the National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin working with state governments and impacted local councils on determining this additional allocation. </p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government was committed to working hand in hand with regional communities to rebuild towns and villages.</p> <p>“These payments will provide immediate assistance directly into the hands of local councils to rebuild roads and infrastructure, employ staff to help in recovery activities and hold events which bring the community together and bring tourists back to town,” the Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“We are moving immediately to support local councils and our funding will be in state government bank accounts by tomorrow.</p> <p>“Importantly this is a base payment and just the start of our support for local communities, in what we know will be a long recovery.”</p> <p>Funding will be directed to councils which have been ‘activated’ by their respective state government for Category C bushfire disaster recovery relief under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Payments will not require matched funding from state governments.</p> <p>Currently there are 40 councils across Australia in receipt of Category C assistance, including 33 in New South Wales, five in Queensland and two in South Australia (list attached).</p> <p>Funding will also be provided to the Local Government Areas of East Gippsland and Towong in Victoria in recognition of an imminent request from the Victorian Government for Category C assistance for these severely impacted regions.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Government was backing regional communities to rebuild and recover.</p> <p>“We have always known regional communities are Australia’s most resilient and in the devastation of these fires we have seen again the remarkable community spirit existing in our regions, said the Deputy Prime Minister.</p> <p>“The immediate payments to councils will boost affected economies by supporting local small businesses, farmers and trades as they rebuild, restock, replant and recover.”</p> <p>Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the focus would be on supporting local communities.</p> <p>“I’ve made it clear this won’t be a Canberra led recovery, it’ll be a locally led recovery and this is our first instalment in that process. We’re empowering local governments to be part of that process today. We’re committed to rebuilding communities but also the lives of those impacted by these devastating fires,” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>All funds will be drawn from the $2 billion allocated to the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and this is in addition to funding that is automatically available to councils through other disaster recovery arrangements.</p> <p>The lump sum payments will be delivered by the Commonwealth by the close of business tomorrow to State Governments who administer payments to councils.</p> <p>The only condition placed on councils is that they develop a Program of Works within three months and report back to the Commonwealth in 12 months’ time.</p> <p>Councils will be able to spend their $1 million payments on projects and activities that they deem essential for the recovery and renewal of their communities, including:</p> <ul> <li>Rebuilding damaged or destroyed council assets such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities;</li> <li>Employing additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help coordinate and plan the rebuilding effort;</li> <li>Hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions; and</li> <li>Immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.</li> </ul> <p>Councils to receive assistance</p> <p><strong>NSW</strong><br /> Armidale<br /> Ballina<br /> Bega Valley<br /> Bellingen<br /> Blue Mountains<br /> Byron<br /> Central Coast<br /> Cessnock<br /> Clarence Valley<br /> Eurobodalla<br /> Glenn Innes Severn<br /> Hawkesbury<br /> Inverell<br /> Kempsey<br /> Kyogle<br /> Lismore<br /> Lithgow<br /> Mid-Coast<br /> Mid-Western<br /> Nambucca<br /> Port Macquarie-Hastings<br /> Queanbeyan-Palerang<br /> Richmond Valley<br /> Shoalhaven<br /> Singleton<br /> Snowy Monaro<br /> Snowy Valleys<br /> Tenterfield<br /> Tweed<br /> Walcha<br /> Wingecarribee<br /> Wollondilly</p> <p><strong>QLD</strong><br /> Livingstone<br /> Noosa<br /> Scenic Rim<br /> Southern Downs<br /> Sunshine Coast</p> <p><strong>SA</strong><br /> Adelaide Hills<br /> Kangaroo Island</p> <p><strong>VIC</strong><br /> East Gippsland <br /> Towong</p> Littleproud Immediate financial support for bushfire affected communities Busting congestion on NSW Central Coast https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/tudge/media-release/busting-congestion-nsw-central-coast <p>A congestion-busting $70 million agreement landed today between the Morrison Government and the Central Coast Council will mean 29 Urban Congestion Fund projects will soon be underway across the region.</p> <p>Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge has signed the funding agreement for the package, with $33.3 million of funding set to flow immediately for the first tranche of projects.</p> <p>“These projects will bust congestion, they will deliver life-saving road safety improvements and they will bolster commuter and freight connections,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“The majority of the projects in the Central Coast Roads Package will commence and be completed next year, with the rest to commence in 2021 or early 2022.” </p> <p>Federal Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks said she was pleased to have the Central Coast Council on board so that a rolling program of construction can begin from early next year.</p> <p>“Over the next few years, there will be a steady pipeline of road projects going out the door, underpinning construction jobs, saving lives on our roads and saving travel times,” Ms Wicks said.</p> <p>Mayor of Central Coast Council Lisa Matthews said she was pleased to see the Federal Government deliver on its election promise for the Central Coast.</p> <p>“Council is committed to deliver better roads on the Coast that is why we have invested more than $240million over the past three years, Mayor Matthews said.</p> <p>“This funding is very welcome for the Coast and hopefully just the start of more great collaboration between all levels on government to improve our 2200km road network.  </p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Urban Congestion Fund commitments – Central Coast </strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Australian Government funding</strong></p> <p><strong>($m)</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Central Coast Roads Package – 29 road upgrades across the Central Coast, including:</p> <ul> <li>Albert Warner Drive Renewal, Warnervale</li> <li>Bayview Avenue Renewal, The Entrance</li> <li>Craigie Avenue Renewal, Kanwal</li> <li>Cresthaven Avenue Renewal, Bateau Bay</li> <li>Del Monte Place Upgrade, Copacabana</li> <li>Everglades Catchment, Umina Beach Drainage Upgrade</li> <li>Fravent Street Renewal, Toukley</li> <li>Gem Road Upgrade, Pearl Beach</li> <li>Glenrock Parade Upgrade, Tascott</li> <li>Hibbard Street Renewal, Canton Beach</li> <li>Kerry Crescent Renewal, Berkeley Vale</li> <li>Lushington Road Upgrade, East Gosford</li> <li>Maidens Brush Road Renewal, Wyoming</li> <li>Mutu Street Upgrade, Woy Woy</li> <li>Oleander Street Renewal, Noraville</li> <li>Racecourse Road Renewal, West Gosford</li> <li>Rawson Road and Ocean Beach Road Intersection Upgrade</li> <li>Richardson Road Renewal, San Remo</li> <li>Ridgway Road Upgrade, Avoca Beach</li> <li>Shelly Beach Road Upgrade, Empire Bay</li> <li>Shirley Street Renewal, Ourimbah</li> <li>Springfield Road Renewal, Springfield</li> <li>Springwood Street Upgrade, Blackwall</li> <li>St Huberts Island Bridge Upgrade</li> <li>Steyne Road Upgrade, Saratoga</li> <li>Sturt Street Renewal, Killarney Vale</li> <li>The Corso Renewal, Gorokan</li> <li>Tuggerawong Road Renewal, Tuggerawong</li> <li>Woodbury Park Drive Renewal, Mardi</li> </ul> </td> <td> <p>70</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> </p> <p> </p> Tudge Busting congestion on NSW Central Coast Message from the Hon Nola Marino MP https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/community-update/message-hon-nola-marino-mp-0 <p>Dear Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands residents,</p> <p>Reflecting on 2019, firstly - thank you for welcoming me as your Minister in May, and during my visits to Christmas Island (CI) in August, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) in September.</p> <p>It was important for me to experience the IOT for myself, and hear directly from you about issues important to you, including ensuring economically diverse and sustainable communities and drawing on your strengths and community leadership.</p> <p>During my visits, I was pleased to announce $500,000 funding to implement projects aligned to actions in your <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/files/CCS1681_IOTRDO_CI_Strategic_Plan_FINAL.pdf">Our Christmas Island 2030 Strategic Plan</a> and <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/files/CCS1815-CKI-Strategic-Plan-Final-March-2019.pdf">Our Cocos (Keeling) Islands 2030 Strategic Plan</a>.</p> <p>On CI, this included funding to upgrade the outdoor cinema and cricket and sporting club, expand on the day care facility and the development of a nature-based play space at the Tea Gardens to enhance the wellbeing of children.</p> <p>On CKI, funds were provided for projects on Home and West Island in line with the community-owned master plan to improve community infrastructure including upgrades at Trannies Beach and Sandy Point, and to the integral waste transfer station.</p> <p>Significant investment has also been made by the Government, through the <a href="https://administratoriot.cmail20.com/t/t-l-nvtio-ckilliukr-j/">Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development</a> (the Department), in service delivery and capital works projects in the IOT. These projects provide vital infrastructure at schools, airports, ports, and health services, including new medical, radiology and dental equipment.</p> <p>This year, the Australian Government also continued to invest in major initiatives to diversify the local economies, and create local jobs. I have released the <a href="https://administratoriot.cmail20.com/t/t-l-nvtio-ckilliukr-t/">Terms of Reference</a> for the independent Review of Tourism in the IOT. This includes the development of a Tourism Action Plan which will explore the tourism initiatives identified through your community-led Strategic Plans to support growth opportunities and boost employment. The tourism review is now under way with Deloitte visiting both CI and CKI where they met with the tourism associations and stakeholders.</p> <p>Significant progress has also been made on the <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/Christmas/strategic-assessment/">Strategic Assessment of CI</a> under the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2004A00485">Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999</a>. We are working with stakeholders, including the <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/assessments/strategic/christmas-island">Department of the Environment and Energy</a>, and the local Community Reference Group, to ensure the Strategic Assessment Plan is practical, and consistent with community aspirations.</p> <p>The Plan will support economic activity by enabling a whole-of-island approach to development, planning, and environmental protection, and will provide certainty to potential investors, and streamline development approval processes.</p> <p>In 2019, the Australian Government commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to review the IOT Health Service (IOTHS). The <a href="https://administratoriot.cmail20.com/t/t-l-nvtio-ckilliukr-k/">Final Report on the IOT Health Service</a>, was released in March, and includes an assessment of community health needs, analysis of health services in comparable remote communities, and strategic initiatives to address emerging issues.</p> <p>The Department consulted with the community in May, and <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/files/Report_on_Public_Consultations_Pricewaterhouse_Coopers_Final_Report_Indian_Ocean_Territories_Health_Service-March_2019-November_2019.pdf">feedback</a> has informed development of a Five-Year Strategic Plan for the IOTHS, which I expect to release early in 2020. As a strong and resilient community, it is critical that you continue to contribute to your future, as you have done with your participation in the development of the various plans.</p> <p>Our key priorities in 2020 will be their completion, and implementation.</p> <p>As your Ministerial voice in Canberra, I will continue to work with you and the Administrator of CI and CKI, Mrs Natasha Griggs.</p> <p>We have much to celebrate in the New Year including the recently announced $4.2 million funding boost for CI projects focused on creating local jobs and growing a sustainable economy based on the Island’s natural advantages of environment, tourism, science and research.</p> <p>And a further $1.18 million has been secured for a fire truck on CI. This will enhance the Island’s ability to respond to emergencies on the Island.</p> <p>Thank you again for welcoming me as your Minister in 2019. I look forward to continuing to work with you and the Administrator in 2020 to progress important initiatives.</p> Marino Message from the Hon Nola Marino MP Merimbula Airport new crown jewel for the Sapphire Coast https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/merimbula-airport-new-crown-jewel-sapphire-coast <p>Accessing the South Coast of New South Wales is now much easier thanks to the completion of the Merimbula Airport terminal upgrade.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the construction of a new arrivals terminal and secure luggage holding area along with a carpark expansion had increased the airport’s passenger handling capability.</p> <p>“These upgrades have improved accessibility, safety and capacity which means Merimbula Airport will now be able to service more passengers and a wider range of passenger aircraft, supporting business and tourism to this wonderful region,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan AO DSC said the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s $1.2 million investment in a key port of entry to the South Coast would attract more tourists and business to visit and spend money on the South Coast.</p> <p>“An estimated 60,000 travellers will use this upgraded terminal every year, making Merimbula Airport a gateway for professional and recreational visitors to the South Coast, including specialist healthcare personnel working with the South East Regional Hospital in Bega,” Senator Molan said.</p> <p>Valley Shire Council Mayor Councillor Kristy McBain said it’s fantastic to see the travelling public enjoying the added comfort and improved facilities the new terminal has brought.</p> <p>"The airport user groups played a key role in the development of the plans and STEA Astute Architecture and Joss Constructions have done a tremendous job in turning the vision into reality,” Cr McBain said.</p> <p>"We now have a modern and appealing gateway to our Shire to welcome all those travelling here by air.”</p> <p>The $4.4 million upgrade was jointly funded with the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government investing $1.2 million and Bega Valley Shire Council investing $3.2 million.</p> McCormack Merimbula Airport new crown jewel for the Sapphire Coast Thousands go through turnstiles at Kempsey cinema https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/thousands-go-through-turnstiles-kempsey-cinema <p>The $6.15 million Majestic Cinema in Kempsey was officially opened today and dignitaries learned it had already attracted 3000 patrons since trading commenced.</p> <p>Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan, Kempsey Shire Council Mayor Liz Campbell and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey joined partners Gowings Bros to officially open the entertainment complex today.</p> <p>Mr Conaghan said it was great to learn locals and visitors had flocked to the four cinemas and the town centre had a new buzz since screenings commenced on 28 November 2019.</p> <p>“It’s pleasing to hear business is booming at the cinema, with management reporting high patronage, hundreds of people dropping in for a tour and large numbers signing up to the Majestic Movie Club,” he said.</p> <p>“The Federal Government’s $611 million National Stronger Regions Fund is all about building stronger, more prosperous regions and I am pleased to see investing $2 million from this fund in the cinema is achieving that for Kempsey.</p> <p>“Kempsey already has a great reputation as a traditional country town and is the commercial centre of the nearby beautiful beach areas. Being able to see a movie while in town can only improve the experience for visitors and tourists.”</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the cinema had provided five new jobs at management and supervisory level and 15 new jobs for young people.</p> <p>“It’s important young people in regional areas have job opportunities in their local town and the new cinema has created ongoing jobs, plus the project supported 333 jobs during construction,” he said.</p> <p>“I am confident the cinema will produce long-term economic benefits to the region as it maintains jobs, encourages shoppers into the city retail centre and attracts more visitors to the town.”</p> <p>This project is an example of what can be achieved when all tiers of government work constructively with the private sector. The Federal Government invested $2 million in the project, Kempsey Shire Council - $2 million, and Gowing Bros Limited - $2,150,000.</p> <p>Gowing Bros Limited leases the cinema to Majestic Cinemas, a company founded in Nambucca on the Mid North Coast over 17 years ago, which has grown to run eight cinemas. </p> <p>“Since 2014, Council backed getting a commercial cinema complex for Kempsey as we knew it provide a valuable recreational and social outlet for locals and tourists, but also stimulate the business opportunities right in town,” Cr Campbell said.</p> <p>“The reality is that Kempsey’s population base was smaller than the size usually required to attract a private investment to build a cinema complex, but we knew it would work operationally, which is why we advocated strongly for multiple levels of government support to get it started.</p> <p>“It’s exciting to be able to officially open the cinema and thank all the partners. The sky is the limit in terms of what it can deliver in cultural activities and events and I’m told this summer’s offering of movies like Frozen 2, Star Wars Episode 9, Dr Dolittle and Cats is just the beginning.”</p> McCormack Thousands go through turnstiles at Kempsey cinema A new look for Merimbula's Visitor Information Centre https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/new-look-merimbulas-visitor-information-centre <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, who attended today’s opening, said the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s $50,450 investment had preserved and improved an important community facility.</p> <p>“The new Visitor Information Centre will assist tourists and provide travel options, maps and local information to help them explore Merimbula and the beautiful Sapphire Coast,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan AO DSC said the funding would deliver important economic benefits to local tradespeople and businesses in Merimbula.</p> <p>“The new centre will improve connections between businesses and visitors, which is a fantastic way to encourage tourism and increase sales and volunteering opportunities in the region,” Senator Molan said.</p> <p>Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales John Barilaro said the construction and internal fit-out of the new centre had employed local tradespeople and used locally-sourced materials.</p> <p>“There’s no better way to boost growth and job opportunities than by actually making use of the businesses in your community – something I’m happy to say this project has done,” Mr Barilaro said.</p> <p>Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Councillor Kristy McBain said the new information centre represented a great show of support for the future of tourism not only in Merimbula, but across the Shire.</p> <p>"The new home has provided the dedicated staff and volunteers with a site befitting the wonderful work they do to promote our Shire as a destination and our local businesses,” Cr McBain said</p> <p>The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government invested $50,450 under the Building Better Regions Fund – an $841 million investment designed to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future.</p> <p>The New South Wales Government also contributed $25,000, Bega Valley Shire Council $25,000 and Merimbula Tourism Incorporated $450.</p> McCormack A new look for Merimbula's Visitor Information Centre Major upgrade for Bega Saleyards https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/littleproud/media-release/major-upgrade-bega-saleyards <p>The Bega Valley Saleyards have received a major upgrade to improve animal welfare standards and facilities for local farmers, buyers and sellers.  <br />  <br /> Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the upgrade included the installation of rubber matting on concrete livestock pens, an open bay with shade and a rainwater tank. <br />  <br /> “The Bega Saleyards support more than 2,000 buyers and sellers from across the region every year.  These important upgrades will improve the safety, accessibility and functionality of this site supporting the local agricultural community,” Mr McCormack said.<br />  <br /> Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the project was funded under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme which is providing ongoing support for regional communities.<br />  <br /> “Under this programme, the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government delivered $1 million to the Bega Valley Shire Council. $790,000 was spent upgrading the saleyards and the remaining $210,000 funded fencing materials and labour to help local landholders replace 150 kilometres of internal and boundary fencing severely damaged in last year’s bush fires.”  <br />  <br /> Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan AO DSC, who attended today’s event, said these projects would ease some of the burden for residents who have been doing it tough due to drought.<br />  <br /> “All upgrades and projects funded under the Bega Valley Shire Drought Communities Project used local resources and businesses, created 14 construction jobs and eight ongoing jobs, providing long-term benefits for this wonderful part of the nation,” Senator Molan said.<br />  <br /> Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Councillor Kristy McBain said the local project was developed in consultation with local farming groups and co-operatives, support organisations and major agricultural businesses.  <br />  <br /> “The challenges and difficulties posed by the drought in an area such as ours, where the agricultural sector represents a large proportion of the workforce, are significant and it’s imperative that as a community we do everything we can to support the industry,” Cr McBain said.<br />  <br /> “The saleyards are a key asset for local farmers to meet and discuss a range of industry trends, issues and opportunities and are also a space for socialisation and peer support in challenging times such as these. <br />  <br /> “This upgrade has immensely improved the functionality, accessibility, safety and amenity of the site and I am very much looking forward to seeing the positive flow-on effects of this investment.”  <br />  <br /> The Bega Valley Shire Drought Communities Project received $1 million in funding from the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government under the Drought Communities Programme Extension. <br />  </p> Littleproud Major upgrade for Bega Saleyards Major upgrade for Bega Saleyards https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/major-upgrade-bega-saleyards <p>The Bega Valley Saleyards have received a major upgrade to improve animal welfare standards and facilities for local farmers, buyers and sellers.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the upgrade included the installation of rubber matting on concrete livestock pens, an open bay with shade and a rainwater tank. <br />  <br /> “The Bega Saleyards support more than 2,000 buyers and sellers from across the region every year.  These important upgrades will improve the safety, accessibility and functionality of this site supporting the local agricultural community,” Mr McCormack said.<br />  <br /> Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the project was funded under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme which is providing ongoing support for regional communities.<br />  <br /> “Under this programme, the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government delivered $1 million to the Bega Valley Shire Council. $790,000 was spent upgrading the saleyards and the remaining $210,000 funded fencing materials and labour to help local landholders replace 150 kilometres of internal and boundary fencing severely damaged in last year’s bush fires.”  <br />  <br /> Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan AO DSC, who attended today’s event, said these projects would ease some of the burden for residents who have been doing it tough due to drought.<br />  <br /> “All upgrades and projects funded under the Bega Valley Shire Drought Communities Project used local resources and businesses, created 14 construction jobs and eight ongoing jobs, providing long-term benefits for this wonderful part of the nation,” Senator Molan said.<br />  <br /> Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Councillor Kristy McBain said the local project was developed in consultation with local farming groups and co-operatives, support organisations and major agricultural businesses.  <br />  <br /> “The challenges and difficulties posed by the drought in an area such as ours, where the agricultural sector represents a large proportion of the workforce, are significant and it’s imperative that as a community we do everything we can to support the industry,” Cr McBain said.<br />  <br /> “The saleyards are a key asset for local farmers to meet and discuss a range of industry trends, issues and opportunities and are also a space for socialisation and peer support in challenging times such as these. <br />  <br /> “This upgrade has immensely improved the functionality, accessibility, safety and amenity of the site and I am very much looking forward to seeing the positive flow-on effects of this investment.”  <br />  <br /> The Bega Valley Shire Drought Communities Project received $1 million in funding from the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government under the Drought Communities Programme Extension. <br />  </p> McCormack Major upgrade for Bega Saleyards CQ roads boom keep rolling with new Bruce bridge https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/cq-roads-boom-keep-rolling-new-bruce-bridge <p>Motorists in Rockhampton have been given a taste of the city’s northern access upgrade, with the first of four new bridges between Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road and Terranova Drive now open, thanks to a $157 million package of works on the Bruce Highway.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the package of works was delivering both the $121 million Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade, as well as the $36 million safety project to upgrade the Terranova Drive intersection.</p> <p>“It is great to see that the northern access component is progressing well with motorists north of Rockhampton able to start driving on the new Limestone Creek Bridge from Thursday 19 December,” Mr McCormack said.</p> <p>“The Bridge will initially cater for both northbound and southbound traffic and once the second Limestone Creek Bridge is built, it will become dedicated to northbound traffic.</p> <p>“Improving the capacity of this section of the Bruce Highway is important in reducing congestion and meeting current and future traffic demands. The start of construction of a second bridge in January next year will be a good start to achieving this.”</p> <p>Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said this was just one of a number of key infrastructure projects in Rockhampton that are progressing, following the recent announcement of consultation for the city’s next major project, the $1 billion Rockhampton Ring Road.</p> <p>“As a result, businesses are continuing to open up due to the jointly-funded projects like this $121 million Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade project and the $75 million Capricorn Highway duplication project at Gracemere currently under construction and the Rocky Ring Road just around the corner.</p> <p>“Already, more than 400 jobs have been created by the northern access upgrade, while 180 jobs are being supported as part of the Capricorn Highway project at Gracemere,” Mr Bailey said.</p> <p> “It’s why the Queensland Government is delivering more than $14.5 billion in road projects across regional Queensland, creating more than 13,500 jobs.”</p> <p>Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said that Rockhampton is key regional hub in central Queensland and it is fantastic to see governments investing in our road network.</p> <p>“Rockhampton is a great place to live, work and visit and to ensure all road users have the appropriate access and connectivity throughout the region, we need to make sure our roads can get us there as soon and as safe as possible,” Ms Landry said.</p> <p>“The opening the first Limestone Creek bridge before Christmas is a key milestone for the project and keeps the project moving one step closer to creating four lanes on the Bruce Highway through Parkhurst.</p> <p>“Combined, this $157 million package of works will duplicate 4.9 kilometres of the Bruce Highway that will cater for increasing traffic demand, enhance connectivity and improve safety for motorists.”</p> <p>Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said driving along the Bruce Highway north of Rockhampton, it was great to see the project’s progressing quickly with many active work sites, including the realigned Boundary Road, a large roundabout near Stirling Drive and the two service roads for access to commercial businesses.</p> <p>"We are getting on with the job of building roads for Rockhampton, boosting productivity, creating jobs and fostering economic growth,” Mr O’Rouke said.</p> <p>"In the new year, further work areas will open at Terranova Drive to build the northbound traffic lanes between Boundary Road and Ramsay Creek, in addition to the demolition and replacement of the bridge at Limestone Creek."</p> <p>Road users should remain aware of the changed traffic conditions while building continued across the full extent of the Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade.</p> <p>The Australian Government is committing $96.8 million towards the $121 million Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade project and $28.8 million towards the $36 million Terranova Drive safety upgrade project, with the Queensland Government contributing the remaining funding.</p> McCormack CQ roads boom keep rolling with new Bruce bridge Significant Investment in Christmas Island: Enhancing natural assets to boost local jobs and growth https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/significant-investment-christmas-island-enhancing-natural-assets-boost-local-jobs-and-growth <p>I am pleased to announce the Australian Government is investing $4.2 million to create jobs, support local business and grow a sustainable economy on Christmas Island (CI).</p> <p>This funding has been secured following my recent visit and it is for projects focussing on Christmas Island’s natural advantages of environment, tourism, science and research.</p> <p>The funding boost will include $2.8 million in infrastructure upgrades in the National Park, and public spaces including a camping ground, walking trails, signage, bike and mountain bike paths and improved ocean access.</p> <p>This investment will enhance tourism experiences on CI, support local tourism, business, retail and hospitality sectors, and showcase the Island’s unique heritage, culture, and environment.</p> <p>A research Roundtable will be held in February 2020. The Roundtable will be held in Canberra to coincide with the Universities Australia Conference. This conference brings together world-renowned scientists and universities together with Government agencies, including the CSIRO, to identify opportunities for research and science on CI.</p> <p>As suggested by a number of local residents, CI has the potential for long‑term sustainable research in a range of areas. The Roundtable will provide an opportunity for me to explore this potential with scientific experts, as a means of bringing new visitors to the Island and diversifying the local economy.</p> <p>It is our commitment to support community-led initiatives to grow a sustainable local economy and boost jobs on CI by supporting local business, capability and skills development, encouraging entrepreneurship and a strong private sector, and expansion into new markets.</p> <p>This is why we are investing $150,000 to establish a Business Innovator and Entrepreneur Network to develop future leaders on CI, and $40,000 for the development of a CI Curriculum Vitae modelled on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands’ (CKI’s) successful <a href="https://www.cocoscv.com/">Cocos CV</a>, showcasing local businesses and skills, including to mainland contractors and potential investors.</p> <p>Annual business workshops will support innovation and business development, improve productivity and enhance marketing and market penetration.</p> <p>I have written to the Administrator of CI and CKI, Mrs. Natasha Griggs, in her role as Chair of the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation, requesting she oversee the delivery of some of these initiatives. Benefits are expected to flow to local businesses, suppliers, contractors and workers.</p> <p>This new funding for CI complements other Australian Government initiatives currently underway including the Review of Tourism, delivery of initiatives in the <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/publications/files/CCS1681_IOTRDO_CI_Strategic_Plan_FINAL.pdf">Our Christmas Island 2030 Strategic Plan</a>, and the <a href="https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/Christmas/strategic-assessment/">Strategic Assessment</a> of CI.</p> <p>There are many opportunities for you, the community, to actively progress our shared vision by working together, putting your hand up and participating as opportunities arise.</p> <p>Like all strong and resilient small communities, untapped potential emerges when people support and mentor each other to contribute to a strong future, and work together on aspirational future projects.</p> Marino Significant Investment in Christmas Island: Enhancing natural assets to boost local jobs and growth Another METRONET project gets underway, as major contract signed https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/tudge/media-release/another-metronet-project-gets-underway-major-contract-signed <p>A historic METRONET construction contract - that will add a further 32 kilometres of rail to Perth’s network - was signed today, as early works commenced on the Thornlie-Cockburn Link project.</p> <p>The $1.25 billion contract for the construction of the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension is the biggest passenger rail expansion in WA since the 70 kilometre Mandurah Line contract was awarded in 2004. </p> <p>NEWest Alliance - comprising CPB Contractors and Downer - will deliver both projects under a bundled contract arrangement funded by the  Australian and Western Australian State governments.</p> <p>It is expected both projects will support more than 3,000 jobs, creating work opportunities for Western Australians and a boost to the local economy.</p> <p>By 2031 the Thornlie-Cockburn Link (TCL) and Yanchep Rail Extension METRONET projects will serve a population catchment of 400,000 people, providing Perth suburbs with more transport choice.</p> <p>The 17.5 kilometre TCL project will link the Thornlie and Cockburn Central train stations, and build two new stations at Ranford Road and Nicholson Road.</p> <p>While the Yanchep Rail Extension component of the contract was detailed in November, when early works started on that project, the Thornlie-Cockburn Link was still subject to final negotiation.</p> <p>WA Premier Mark McGowan said 2020 would see the METRONET projects moving forward.</p> <p>“Next year is shaping up to be a defining year for METRONET construction,” Mr McGowan said.</p> <p>“Perth will have six METRONET projects under construction at once, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses.</p> <p>“The TCL will connect two of Perth’s train lines for the first time - the first time we will have a east-west connection between rail lines on our network.</p> <p>“Our METRONET projects, along with our unprecedented investment in upgrading our road network, will give residents a new public transport option and reduce their time spent in traffic, which means they can spend more time with family and friends.”</p> <p>Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the TCL would connect the existing Thornlie Rail Line to Cockburn Central Station on the Mandurah Line.</p> <p>“The project will also replace the pedestrian level crossing at Elliot Place with a footbridge, making rail travel much more user friendly for our community” Senator Cormann said. </p> <p>“The Canning Rail River Rail Bridge will also be duplicated and the Ranford Road Bridge modified.”</p> <p>Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said the two projects would mean thousands of local jobs and help bust congestion.</p> <p>“Around 3,000 jobs will be supported across both METRONET projects - 1680 for the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and 1370 for Yanchep Rail Extension. This is a great result for the local economy,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“The Yanchep Rail Extension will cut public transport journey times by at least 30 minutes to and from the city, getting people home sooner and safer.”</p> <p>WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said her Government was committed to keeping rail construction work local.</p> <p>“The start of the TCL and Yanchep Rail Extension projects marks the beginning of a new era of rail construction in WA,” Ms Saffioti said.</p> <p>“Along with bringing railcar manufacturing back to WA, our METRONET transformation will initiate ongoing work and training opportunities for locals.</p> <p>“They are projects that we promised to the WA public and are now happy to be delivering on those commitments.</p> <p>“Today’s contract signing is a major step towards giving Perth the public transport system it needs to grow and succeed in the 21st century. Connecting our communities and having efficient public transport links is the backbone of a strong, well-functioning city.”</p> <p>The final cost of the Thornlie-Cockburn Link has now been revised to $716 million, with the State Government contributing $366 million and the Federal Government contributing $350 million.</p> <p>The project was originally budgeted at $535.8 million. The revised cost is largely attributed to relocating third party infrastructure ($82.7 million), improved wages for workers ($20.2 million), minimising network disruption and meeting environmental requirements.</p> <p>The revised project cost is more than offset by the fact the METRONET WA-made railcars project came in $347 million under budget.</p> <p>Early works on the TCL project are now underway, with Main Roads currently lengthening the Karel Avenue Bridge to make room for the new rail corridor.</p> <p>Main Roads will also integrate early works for TCL’s tie-in to the Mandurah Line, with the Kwinana Freeway widening works that are currently under construction. This should help reduce disruption for motorists on the freeway.</p> <p>It is expected the TCL integration works will extend the freeway project works into March 2020.</p> <p>Due to the the complex nature of third-party service relocations that are built into the project, major construction is due to be completed in 2022, with train services operating in 2023.</p> <p>By 2031 it’s expected there will be up to 18,000 daily boardings.</p> Tudge Another METRONET project gets underway, as major contract signed National Faster Rail Agency Chief Executive Officer appointed https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/tudge/media-release/national-faster-rail-agency-chief-executive-officer-appointed <p>The Morrison Government has appointed Barry Broe as the new Chief Executive Officer for the National Faster Rail Agency (NFRA).</p> <p>Mr Broe has spent over 40 years in major project, transport and public sector infrastructure delivery including over 17 years at executive or CEO level. He has direct local and international experience in rail and planning.</p> <p>He has held senior executive roles with Brisbane Infrastructure, Transport for London and Queensland Transport. Mr Broe will serve as CEO for an initial five-year term.</p> <p>The NFRA was created in July this year to support the delivery of the Government’s 20-year Faster Rail Plan, which includes $2 billion for faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong and eight regional to capital city business cases along the eastern seaboard.</p> <p>Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge congratulated Mr Broe on his appointment.</p> <p>“With vast experience in transport infrastructure he will bring expertise and leadership to the NFRA which has a pivotal role at the forefront of faster rail in this country,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>The NFRA will work closely with state and territory governments on opportunities to develop rail infrastructure between major cities and key regional centres in order to advance social, economic and population outcomes.</p> <p> Mr Tudge said the delivery of the Faster Rail Plan was critical to its plan for Australia’s future population.</p> <p>“Faster rail networks are crucial to easing congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future as our population grows,” Mr Tudge said.</p> <p>“Investing in faster rail will create jobs and bust congestion, giving time back to commuters and enabling more people to live in our regions while working in our cities.”</p> <p>The National Faster Rail Agency will be supported by an Expert Panel that will play an important role on providing advice on faster rail related matters including existing faster rail project business cases, new potential faster rail corridors, future developments across networks and infrastructure requirements and priorities.</p> <p>Mr Broe will commence in the positon on January 6.</p> <p>For further information, please visit the National Faster Rail Agency website at <a href="https://www.nfra.gov.au/">nfra.gov.au.</a></p> Tudge National Faster Rail Agency Chief Executive Officer appointed More cash for drought-hit farmers https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/littleproud/media-release/more-cash-drought-hit-farmers <p>Payments of up to $3,000 will continue to be available to drought-hit farming families throughout Christmas and the New Year.</p> <p>The Federal Government has topped up the existing round of the Drought Community Support Initiative.</p> <p>Minister for Drought, David Littleproud said the Liberal-National Government would invest another $33.2 million in the scheme.</p> <p>“This is about making sure families can have dignity this Christmas and into the New Year,” Minister Littleproud said.</p> <p>“It will put food on the table and make sure farming families can make ends meet.</p> <p>“If your main income is from the farming sector then this program is there to support you.</p> <p>“Eligible people include farming families, farm workers, suppliers and contractors.</p> <p>“The program will be delivered through Vinnies and the Salvos because they can provide greater protection from those trying to game the scheme and get the money in people’s pockets quicker.</p> <p>“The Government is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with drought communities and we will keep stepping up our response as this drought steps up.”</p> <p>Applications should be made through the St Vincent de Paul Society on 1300 846 643 or at<a href="http://www.vinnies.org.au/droughthelp"> www.vinnies.org.au/droughthelp</a> or through the Salvation Army on 1300 551 030 or at <a href="http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/drought">www.salvationarmy.org.au/drought</a></p> Littleproud More cash for drought-hit farmers