Construction is due to begin in mid-2017 on four key road upgrades on the Flinders Highway and Kennedy Developmental Road after the release of $76.26 million in specialist Australian Government funding.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today announced the approval of the funding under the Government’s $600 million Northern Australia Roads Program (NARP).
The projects will also deliver on a key recommendation of the Northern Australia White Paper to increase employment opportunities for local Indigenous people, aiming for at least five per cent Indigenous participation through employment on site or the use of Indigenous suppliers.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Department of Transport and Main Roads had been waiting for the Federal Government to activate their funds.
“Now that the Commonwealth has released its share of funding, construction can start on the North Queensland projects,” Mr Pitt said.
“For me these projects are always about jobs and the sooner we can get surveyors and geotechs on site, the sooner we can get the heavy machinery on site to get major works under way.
“I must say that I’m concerned about the time it’s taken the Federal Government to activate these funds, at a time when Townsville needs as much support as possible to stimulate local jobs.
“The Palaszczuk Government has had our full share of funding for these four projects available since my Budget last June – in fact we have funds ready to go for all the projects announced under the Northern Australia Roads Program (NARP).”
The newly funded projects include:
- Progressively sealing the Kennedy Developmental Road (The Lynd – Hughenden) – $50 million
- Widening a section of the Kennedy Developmental Road (Mount Garnet – The Lynd) – $3.32 million
- Pavement strengthening and rehabilitation on the Flinders Highway (Townsville – Torrens Creek) – $17 million
- Upgrading culverts on the Flinders Highway (Charters Towers – Richmond) – $25 million
The Queensland Government will contribute up to $5 million to the Charters Towers to Richmond works, $3.4 million to the Townsville to Torrens Creek project, $10 million to the Lynd to Hughenden works and $660,000 to the Mount Garnet to the Lynd works.
State Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said construction on all four projects would begin in the coming months.
“Pavement widening on the Kennedy Developmental Road between Mount Garnet and the Lynd is expected to be completed by late 2017,” he said.
“Sealing works between the Lynd and Hughenden are expected to be completed by late 2020.
“Works between Townsville and Torrens Creek are expected to be completed by early 2019 and upgrades to culverts between Charters Towers and Richmond are expected to be completed by late 2019.”
Mr Bailey said while it was great the Federal Government was delivering on their promise, they had short-changed Queensland when it comes to regional roads.
“The Federal government originally allocated $375 million in NARP funding for Queensland in their budget, but they went back on their word allocating $223.8 million, ripping Queenslanders off by more than $150 million,” he said.