Road safety funding flows to Queensland

New road safety upgrades and jobs will be delivered right across Queensland with the Australian and Queensland Governments unlocking close to $300 million in additional funding.

The Australian Government announced today it has approved $225 million for Queensland under tranche one of the $2 billion Road Safety Program, joining a further $64.6 million to be provided by the Queensland Government.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the additional works are required to begin and finish by 30 June 2021, improving safety and supporting around 950 jobs in Queensland.

“This funding will deliver key lifesaving improvements such as shoulder sealing, rumble strips to alert drivers they are moving out of their lane, median treatments to prevent head-on collisions and barriers to prevent run-off-road crashes and protect against roadside hazards,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Of this $289.6 million, $267.4 million has been earmarked for regional Queensland demonstrating the substantial focus we are placing on our regional communities.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and the Australian Government is playing our part by investing heavily in road safety upgrades across Queensland.

“This is all about getting Queenslanders home sooner and safer whilst we also create more jobs during this difficult economic time.

“Communities such as Rockhampton will benefit through projects such as upgrading intersections and roadside widening on the Bruce Highway at Nielsen Avenue and projects to improve safety for vulnerable road users on various sections of the Bruce Highway.

“These build on major existing investments such as the $158 million Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade, which will increase safety and reduce travel times by increasing the capacity on the Bruce Highway to four lanes.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Ryan said the joint funding announcement would see another 87 projects across Queensland started and completed within the next six months, creating close to 1,000 jobs and safer roads for families, businesses and industry.

“It means just over a year, the Queensland and Australian governments have delivered more than $5 billion in stimulus to build roads and create jobs as part the state’s economic recovery plan,” Mr Ryan said.

“Last year was one of the worst when it comes to number lives lost on our roads – so to be able make our roads safer sooner while also supporting employment in our regional communities is a great outcome as we enter the new year.

“These projects will add to the record $26.9 billion in roads and transport projects being delivered by the Queensland Government over the next four years, and our real jointly-funded $12.6 billion Bruce Highway plan.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said road safety was a key priority for the Australian Government and this investment in road upgrades would provide a boost to the economy while ensuring Australians can get home sooner and safer.

“Making our roads safer is a critical component of our work to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads and move towards achieving Vision Zero – or no deaths or serious injuries on our roads,” Mr Buchholz said.

“Projects are already underway through the $500 million Targeted Road Safety COVID-19 stimulus package and this additional funding complements that work, resulting in an even greater roll-out of improved infrastructure and roads right across the nation.

“Queensland unfortunately saw a 26 per cent increase in road deaths in 2020, despite the falls in traffic due to the pandemic.

“We know we must do better – and this funding is part of our Government’s unwavering commitment to doing our bit to get all Queenslanders home sooner and safer.”

Queensland Assistant Regional Roads Minister Bruce Saunders said the list of projects would see intersections with a high crash history made safer, roads widened and more dirt roads sealed.

“These types of projects play an important part in supporting our industries right across Queensland, in particular those industries that rely on our regional roads to transport goods,” Mr Saunders said.

“They build on major projects already being delivered like the $480 million Bruce Highway upgrade south of Cairns, the $1 billion Gympie Bypass and $514.3 million Bruce upgrade south of Townsville.

“The works will give new opportunities for businesses as we continue to recover from COVID-19 and spark more jobs in industries like construction, traffic management and engineering.”

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said she was pleased to see a number of vital projects in Central Queensland – both small and large – would benefit from the Federal Government’s funding for road safety projects.

“All of the works undertaken will mean better and safer roads, including improving lighting and widening busy roads to ease traffic congestion and hazards,” Ms Landry said.

“Rockhampton is the gateway to northern Australia, and we are committed to investing much-needed funds in ensuring the safety of our roads.”

Queensland Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke welcomed the joint funding, with a number of projects to be delivered in Central Queensland, including upgrades to the Capricorn Highway and Bruce Highway.

“Our community has already been reaping the benefits of major upgrades like the $75 million Capricorn Highway duplication and Rockhampton Northern Access upgrade, plus a pipeline of future projects like the $1 billion Rocky Ring Road,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“With billions of dollars being injected into Queensland’s economy thanks to local businesses and industry, making our supply chains continue to see sustained and additional investment is a welcome outcome for jobs and for the thousands of families who live here.”

The Australian Government’s funding for the Road Safety Program will deliver lifesaving measures on regional roads and to protect vulnerable road users across the Queensland while also supporting local jobs and providing a welcome boost to local economies.

The funding is subject to “use it or lose it” provisions which require States and Territories to use their notionally allocated funds within a timeframe, or those funds can be reallocated to projects in other jurisdictions. The program will be delivered in three, six-month tranches.

In total, the Australian Government has approved up to $225 million and the Queensland Government a further $64.6 million to fund the state-wide upgrades.

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