Transport budget drives Queensland’s economic recovery

Minister for Transport and Main Roads The Honourable Mark Bailey

Record funding will flow into transport and roads projects to create jobs and support Queensland’s economic recovery.

The Palaszczuk Government today released details of its $27.5 billion, four-year roads and transport investment plan to support 24,000 jobs.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the sixth record roads and transport budget in a row boasted a substantial pipeline of projects being built or in planning.

“Queensland’s strong leadership during the COVID-19 health crisis means our state is the place to be,” Mr Bailey said.

“More people are moving to Queensland than anywhere else in Australia.

“We’ve developed a four-year investment outlook that anticipates future infrastructure demand and backs Queensland workers and businesses.”

Mr Bailey said Queensland’s infrastructure boom will be boosted by the budget’s investment certainty.

“When work sites across Australia and the world shutdown due to COVID-19 lockdowns, Queensland kept building,” Mr Bailey said.

“Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve injected an extra $1.3 billion into the economy to accelerate almost 200 road and transport projects and support jobs when they were needed.

“This budget boosts infrastructure investment, so we don’t lose momentum on Queensland’s economic recovery.

“The Bruce Highway benefits from $883 million in additional joint funding to support our plan to target upgrades between Gladstone and Rockhampton, north of Townsville and build four lanes at Tiaro

“The new funding locks in $13 billion in joint funding to continue upgrading priority sections of the 1700km highway over the coming decade.

“There’s funding to move freight more efficiently across the state by improving key road and port connections.

“That includes our $25 million commitment to the $125 million Gladstone Port Access Road project, which will improve access to the port and take trucks off local roads.

“We’re also backing upgrades to key regional highways, with $47.5 million in this budget to support a $237.5 million jointly-funded plan to upgrade sections of the Landsborough and Capricorn Highways and surrounding roads, as part of the Mount Isa to Rockhampton corridor upgrade.

“Those works will complement the $500 million in joint funding already locked in for upgrades to the Inland Freight Route between Charters Towers and Mungindi on the NSW border.

“The Inland Freight Route will take trucks off the Bruce Highway, create regional jobs and improve freight productivity for truck drivers, farmers and mine workers.”

Mr Bailey said growing communities on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts were being supported in the budget.

“On the Sunshine Coast, we’ll work with the Federal Government on a $320 million upgrade of the Mooloolah River Interchange,” he said.

“The Mooloolah River Interchange will transform one of the worst traffic bottlenecks on the Coast and add to more than $3.5 billion in road and rail investments we’re already delivering between Brisbane’s northside and Gympie.

“The $163 million Deception Bay interchange upgrade is taking shape, and we’re moving ahead with a $2.1 billion plan to ensure the road network copes with population growth in Brisbane and the Moreton Bay regions with new arterial roads like the Moreton Connector.

“This budget also locks in funding to start building light rail to Burleigh later this year, and we’re focused on getting shovels in the ground for the $1.5 billion stage one of the Second M1 between Nerang and Coomera too.

“Three new northern Gold Coast train stations will be built for Cross River Rail, major M1 upgrades between Brisbane and the Gold Coast are continuing, and early works have started on the Exit 41 interchange upgrade at Yatala.”

Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government’s investment in rail projects would deliver better services and support new jobs and training opportunities.

“Construction of Cross River Rail is continuing, with that $5.4 billion project being delivered in addition to our record $27.5 billion transport and roads budget,” he said.

“Cross River Rail is on track to open in 2025, and we’ll keep rolling out the $371 million smart ticketing system and progressing the much-needed Kuraby to Beenleigh Rail upgrade to support faster rail services between Gold Coast, Logan and the CBD.

“We’re continuing talks with industry to build trains in Maryborough and develop rail supply hubs in places like Rockhampton, creating new manufacturing jobs and pathways for skilled workers in regional towns.

“Train stations across south east Queensland will become more accessible under our $500 million station upgrade program, and we’ll also upgrade regional stations in Maryborough West and Rockhampton, as well as starting planning to upgrade Bundaberg train station.”

With almost 120 lives lost on Queensland roads so far this year, Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government continued to prioritise road safety funding in its budget.

“Every death on the road is a tragedy and we have committed record funding to savings lives and reducing the impact on the community,” he said.

“This budget will commit $1.6 billion to prioritise safety upgrades, improve driver education, make school zones safer and develop policies to reduce road crashes and trauma, including next month’s rollout of distracted driving cameras.

“We’ll continue working with the Federal Government to deliver upgrades like better rest facilities, new road barriers, extra street lighting and overtaking lanes, audio line-marking and wide centre line treatments on high risk roads across the state.”

Essential transport services will also be maintained for Queenslanders, particularly those in regional and remote communities.

The Local Fare Scheme, which provides discounts of up to $400 for a return airfare for eligible residents in Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Torres Strait, will be extended until 30 June 2022.

A financial support package introduced in April 2020 to assist transport operators struggling with a downturn in passengers will also be extended until the end of 2021, with an additional $16.3 million.

The record roads and transport budget spend ensures funding for low and no emissions ways to travel too.

“We’ll keep building new and improved facilities for bike riders and pedestrians, with $250 million allocated over four years for active transport, including $10 million towards extending the Oceanway at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast,” Mr Bailey said.

“We also expect more Queenslanders to make the switch to electric vehicles in the coming years, so we’ll keep building more charging stations.

“Opened in 2018, the Queensland Electric Vehicle Superhighway now has 31 charging sites between Coolangatta and Port Douglas.

“This budget provides funding to add 18 new sites, taking the network out west to places like Winton, Roma, Emerald and Cloncurry to support regional tourism.”

Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government was also progressing initiatives to support its commitment that all new urban buses rolled out in Queensland from 2025 would be zero-emissions vehicles.

“Electric buses are already being trialled on some routes and we’ll start to see more built at BusTech on the Gold Coast, including two bio-ethanol fuelled buses that will start trials in Mackay later this year.”

Assistant Regional Roads Minister Bruce Saunders said $17.5 billion of the $27.5 billion Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) 2021-22 to 2024-25 would be invested in regional Queensland, supporting 15,870 jobs.

“Travel anywhere across our state, and you’ll see that investment at work creating jobs and driving our economy,” Mr Saunders said.

“We’re sealing the road to Weipa, opening up Cape York’s economy to new tourism and economic opportunities that were previously out of reach and supporting local jobs and training.

“Roads around Cairns are being transformed thanks to projects like the $164 million Smithfield Bypass and the $481 million duplication of one of the busiest stretches of the Bruce Highway in the state between Edmonton and Gordonvale.

“We’ll start upgrading the Captain Cook Highway north of the Cairns CBD later this year and moving ahead with planning to fully duplicate the last remaining single lane sections of the Cairns Western Arterial Road.

“In Townsville, work has started on the $107 million Bruce Highway safety upgrades at Black River, and early works are underway on the Stage 5 of the $230 million Townsville Ring Road.

“Work to improve flood resilience on the $514 million Bruce Highway upgrade south of Townsville at the Haughton River will finish ahead of schedule this year.

“North of Mackay, work is about to start on the $150 million Walkerston Bypass after we finished Stage 1 of the Mackay Ring Road last year and start four-laning on Proserpine-Shute Harbour Road later this year.

“In Rockhampton, major projects like the Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade and the Capricorn Highway are well advanced, and next year we’ll start building the $1 billion Rockhampton Ring Road and progress upgrades on Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road.

“The $41.8 million Isis Highway upgrades south of Bundaberg we started in January are continuing, and the $103 million Saltwater Creek on the Bruce Highway north of Maryborough will ramp up over the coming weeks.

“West of Brisbane, we’ll continue delivering Warrego Highway upgrades with $543.9 million in funding, including prioritising the Mount Crosby Interchange, and there is also $139.5 million to continue delivering upgrades to priority sections of the Cunningham Highway.

“We’ll continue to support western Queensland communities too, with more than $980 million locked in the budget over the next four years for western roads and highway upgrades.

“That investment will support about 1,180 jobs, with many of those projects contracted to councils so the work is delivered by locals, for locals.

“The Palaszczuk Government has also maintained funding for councils through the successful Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme, with $280 million over four years.

“We know that funding is vital for councils to deliver projects for their communities that improve safety and address congestion, so we’re pleased to continue our strong transport funding arrangements with them through that scheme.”

To view the QTRIP 2021-22 to 2024-2025 document, visit tmr.qld.gov.au/About-us/Corporate-information/Publications/Queensland-Transport-and-Roads-Investment-Program

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