Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz has inspected completed road upgrades along the Carnarvon Highway that the Federal Government jointly funded through Rounds 5 and 6 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP).
Mr Buchholz said the Federal Government committed over $10 million in funding for two projects to support safer and more productive freight movements in Balonne Shire and the surrounding region.
“I have seen firsthand how critical efficient freight networks are to the national economy and indeed to all Australians, with the COVID-19 crisis showcasing just how vital the work of our freight operators is,” Mr Buchholz said.
“These upgrades form part of a comprehensive package of works on the Carnarvon Highway with over $35 million worth of upgrades, jointly funded under HVSPP Rounds 5 and 6.
“The Federal Government is investing $100 billion nationwide to fund better infrastructure over the next 10 years and this funding forms part of the governments continued commitment to keep heavy vehicle drivers safe, improve freight productivity and upgrade our road transport network.”
Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the recently completed projects included extending four culverts and widening 7.25 kilometres of the Carnarvon Highway over several sections.
“Widening key sections of the Carnarvon Highway allows for removal of restrictions on oversize overmass vehicles, which means that there are fewer trucks on the road and products are delivered to their destinations sooner,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The South West Queensland agricultural, livestock and mining sectors can now utilise the highway by providing unlimited and safe load access for heavy vehicles.
“South West Queensland generates more than $19 billion for our state’s economy every year and these upgrade show we’re backing our local producers and freight industry with safer, stronger roads.”
Mayor of Balonne Samantha O’Toole said she welcomed the completion of the projects along Carnarvon Highway, which is not only used for freight but also for local residents.
“All road users who use the Carnarvon Highway will benefit from these upgrades as safer roads will save lives,” Cr O’Toole said.
“We are very happy that the Carnarvon Highway has benefitted from these upgrades, which will continue to boost freight movements throughout the region for years to come.”
An announcement regarding the outcome of HVSPP Round 7 is expected shortly.