The Federal Government has announced that it will invest $730 million towards projects that will upgrade or seal approximately 700 kilometres of key North Queensland roads, opening up the region to more traffic as well as more business.
This significant investment will be focused on strategic corridors that have the potential to bring in new business and jobs to North Queensland. Focus corridors include:
Townsville to Roma - $100 million
Cairns to the Northern Territory border (Savannah Way) - $50 million
By upgrading these corridors, North Queensland will have better connections from the western areas of the State to the coast, helping the region recover from some of the worst floods in history.
This investment will help fund the completion of the Hann Highway, creating the first sealed inland highway from Cairns to Melbourne. This project will also cut the travel time from Mareeba to Melbourne by 12 hours, which businesses for banana, avocado as well as other fruit and vegetable growing businesses will benefit from.
Queensland cattle producers will also benefit from the $730 million investment. Sealing the road from Springsure to Tambo will slash eight hours from a round trip, saving farmers approximately $1,400 per trip.
Places that have been hit by recent floods - including Georgetown, Normanton and Burketown - will benefit from the more than half-a-billion investment as well. Upgrading the 3,500-kilometre Savannah Way that connects Cairns to Broome will open up the region to greater tourism opportunities.
These works are set to provide Queensland with an alternative inland route to the Bruce Highway, offering safer roads for locals as well as cutting travel times, decreasing costs for truck drivers and boosting tourist spending on remote and regional areas.
“It will increase efficiency, productivity and improve the supply chain.
“By making the freight system more efficient , local businesses will also have more money to invest in their operations, creating more jobs and providing a vital shot in the arm for the agriculture and mining sectors, which are so important to Central and North Queensland jobs and communities,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.
According to Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan, this significant investment will help the region rebuild and recover from the recent destructive flooding that occurred.
“Roads are the arteries of lifeblood for these communities and better roads will get their communities pumping again.
“The funding also includes substantial investments in Central Queensland and recognises the corridor of commerce that exists between the mines of Mount Isa and the beaches and islands of Yeppoon,” Mr Canavan said.
Works to be delivered under this investment will include road widening and strengthening; realignment and sealing; and other upgrades that will help make the roads more resilient during the wet season.
“These vital upgrades will reduce freight costs, better connect businesses to markets and improve access and safety for local communities. Our Government’s investment in the Queensland corridors will bring jobs to the region and open up new opportunities for local businesses,” Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport Scott Buchholz said.
The projects to seal or upgrade the North Queensland roads are funded through the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative..
What are your thoughts on this major investment for North Queensland? Let us know in the comments section below.
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