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AusLink delivers more than $3 billion for Queensland

Minister for Transport and Regional Services - Warren Truss
006TRS/Budget 9 May 2006

The Australian Government has increased to more than $3 billion its land transport funding to Queensland over the first five years of AusLink, the National Land Transport Plan.

Of the $3.05 billion, $1.83 billion is directed to major land transport construction projects - an increase of 119.1 per cent compared with the preceding five years. The remainder is for AusLink Network maintenance, local road upgrades, elimination of crash 'black spots' and research and development.

Tonight, the Australian Government is providing an extra $268.0 million one-off payment in 2005-06 for a range of works on the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns. This will better enable the highway to withstand the tests of nature such as Cyclone Larry.

Of this sum, an extra $48.0 million is being made available for Tully flood improvements and $80.0 million is being brought forward from later years. This brings to $128.0 million the amount of money the Australian Government is putting into overcoming flooding problems on the highway at Tully.

The remaining $220.0 million is being provided for substantial rehabilitation, additional overtaking lanes, widening, improved flood immunity, intersection and safety improvements along the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns. The Government will develop a suitable works programme with the Queensland Government.

Overall, AusLink will deliver $559.8 million to Queensland for spending on land transport infrastructure in 2006-07.

2006-07 funding under the AusLink Investment Programme

The Australian Government will spend $388.5 million in 2006-07 in Queensland under AusLink.

  • Funding for major works in the Brisbane metropolitan area rises substantially in 2006-07, including a further $67.0 million for ongoing widening of the Caboolture Motorway.
  • $55.0 million is being provided in 2006-07 to commence construction of the major new interchange at the Ipswich and Logan motorways junction. A further $35.0 million is available for preconstruction works for the proposed upgrade of the Wacol to Darra section of the Ipswich Motorway, and $5.0 million will progress investigation of a northern option (Goodna bypass) alternative to the motorway.
  • The Government has agreed to provide $25.0 million for an overpass of Beaudesert Road adjacent to the Acacia Ridge rail terminal. This Budget includes a first instalment of $3.0 million towards this project.
  • The Budget also reflects the strong focus on improving the Bruce Highway in regional Queensland. Funding is provided for an overpass and road improvement works at Wilmington near Bowen (which receives $17.2 million in 2006-07), for widening the Bruce Highway to four lanes through urban Gympie ($10.0 million in 2006-07) and safety works at Black Mountain on the Sunshine Coast (which receive $5.4 million in 2006-07).
  • Other key priorities to receive significant funding in 2006-07 are the Townsville Ring Road - a convenient bypass route around the growing urban area of the northern city and the Tugun bypass on the Gold Coast. Both projects demonstrate the Government's resolve to improve transport infrastructure in regional Queensland. The Tugun bypass is a long standing joint commitment now entering the construction phase.
  • The Australian Government is also providing $20.0 million for a number of small projects across the AusLink Network to improve the safety and condition of the road system at a number of key locations.
  • The AusLink Network in Queensland receives $66.3 million in maintenance spending in 2006-07.

The Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, and the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, Jim Lloyd, outlined the expanded AusLink Budget funding package for Queensland today.

"The 2006-07 budget honours major commitments the Australian Government has made and consolidates funding for a range of major works in Queensland supporting growth and development," Mr Truss said.

"The impact of Cyclone Larry and recent flooding in North Queensland highlights the need to get on with flood improvements to the Bruce Highway, especially to reduce the effects of closures due to flooding," he said.

Support for regional infrastructure in 2006-07

Mr Lloyd said AusLink's holistic approach to infrastructure rewarded land transport concepts that support growth of regional industries, respond to structural change and strengthen local economic opportunities.

"The 2006-07 Budget confirms money for a Bundaberg Port Road and completion of improvements to Tableland Road, between Bundaberg and Gladstone," he said.

"The Australian Government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will also invest heavily in the North-South rail corridor, where transit times will be cut by four hours between Sydney and Brisbane.

Investing in local roads in 2006-07

"Queensland's councils will receive a supplementary payment for improving the connectivity of local roads around the state, equivalent to an additional year of Roads to Recovery funding. The payment will be made in 2005-06 and councils can spend it immediately on projects they nominate.

"For Queensland, this extra one-off payment in 2005-06 represents a significant $62.5 million for local road improvements.

"The Australian Government will also invest an additional $162.3 million in Queensland's local roads during 2006-07. This includes $62.5 million from the AusLink Roads to Recovery Programme, $3.3 million from AusLink's Strategic Regional Programme, and $96.5 million in untied Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) for local roads.

"Councils are accountable to the Australian Government for spending Roads to Recovery and FAGs, but may select projects according to local priorities," Mr Lloyd said.

"The Australian Government will maintain funding for local roads at least until 2008-09. This will help address the backlog of local road works while also building the capability of regions."

Mr Lloyd said the Government wanted to enhance the ability of regional industries and communities to compete in the national and global economy, and to improve access to services.

"The Department of Transport and Regional Services is assessing applications from councils for unallocated funding under the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme. Successful applicants will be notified later in the year," he said.

Fixing black spot locations to save lives

The Australian Government is also delivering on its commitment to extend the AusLink Black Spot Programme until 2007-08. The aim is to prevent an estimated 500 casualty crashes on Australia's roads in 2006-07.

"The AusLink Black Spot Programme is unique among the suite of government land transport investments in that it targets funding to the worst crash sites, usually for remedial treatments such as traffic signals, turning lanes, roundabouts and improved lighting," Mr Lloyd said.

The Queensland Government will receive $8.9 million from the programme in 2006-07, which will be directed to fixing approximately 70 priority crash locations.

"For every dollar outlaid on black spot solutions, the community reaps a benefit estimated at $14," he said.

A detailed factsheet on the Australian Government's land transport projects in the Queensland is attached.

Media contacts:
Mr Truss' office - Kylie Butler 02 6277 7680 / 0417 652 488
Mr Lloyd's office - Fiona Telford 02 6277 7060 / 0407 908 504

AusLink Backgrounder - Queensland


AUSLINK NATIONAL NETWORK PROJECTS

Urban Brisbane

The Australian Government is providing a total of $662.0 million for road and rail infrastructure projects in urban Brisbane in the five year plan to 2008-09, with most of these funds now allocated to specific works along the Ipswich Motorway.

This includes funding for several new initiatives announced in November 2005. In 2006-07, the Ipswich Motorway (Goodna bypass) study receives $5.0 million to move ahead with planning, while $3.0 million is allocated towards planning the Beaudesert Road rail overpass at Acacia Ridge. The Australian Government has committed $25.0 million to the cost of the overpass. The Queensland Government will contribute also.

Ipswich Motorway

The Australian Government is providing $556.0 million for work on the Ipswich Motorway in the current five-year programme, which includes $320.0 million for upgrading the Wacol to Darra section and $160.0 million for a new interchange at the Logan Motorway junction.

An initial $66.0 million interim safety works package includes a Granard Road interchange and intersections improvements at Progress Road. Both are well advanced. These works will deliver immediate benefits and ease congestion at several key bottlenecks.

Wacol-Darra: The Australian Government is providing $320.0 million to fund widening of the existing Wacol to Darra section of the Ipswich Motorway to six lanes, including $35.0 million in 2006-07. The work includes a much needed upgrade of the Centenary Highway Interchange, which is often congested and at capacity. Construction is expected to start by mid 2007 and will finish by mid-2010.

Logan Motorway interchange: $55.0 million will be allocated in 2006-07 towards the cost of constructing a $160.0 million interchange at the Ipswich Motorway-Logan Motorway junction. Work is expected to start by the end of 2006 and is due to be completed by mid-2009.

The Australian Government is providing $10.0 million ($5.0 million in 2006-07) to further investigate a northern option alternative to the Ipswich Motorway from the Cunningham Highway and Warrego Highway junction at Dinmore to the Logan Motorway at Gailes.

The study will start soon and will be finished by early 2007.

Brisbane urban corridor

$6 million is available in 2006-07 for upgrading the Beatty and Balham Road intersections with Granard Road along the Brisbane Urban Corridor. The Australian Government has committed a total of $10.0 million for this work, which is subject to progress on the development of a state and council funded link road near Archerfield Airport.

The link road and intersection improvements will reduce queuing delays at these intersections and result in more efficient movement of traffic, especially commercial and heavy freight traffic along Granard Road in the Rocklea and Archerfield area.

Beaudesert Road overpass

The Australian Government will provide $3.0 million in 2006-07 ($25.0 million total commitment) towards the cost of a road overpass on Beaudesert Road. The Queensland Government is contributing also. This project will improve safety and traffic flows at Beaudesert Road, Acacia Ridge and achieve operational efficiencies at the Acacia Ridge rail terminal.

Brisbane-Cairns corridor

The Bruce Highway is the key coastal highway in Queensland, linking major cities and towns. It also carries substantial freight traffic. During the first five years of AusLink to 2008-09, the Australian Government will spend more than $800.0 million upgrading the Brisbane-Cairns link.

Caboolture Motorway

$67.0 million is provided in 2006-07 for continuing widening the Caboolture Motorway north of Brisbane to six lanes. This project will ease regular congestion along this busy route. In 2006-07, funds will be applied to the Boundary to Uhlmann Road section, where work is well advanced, and to begin construction at the Caboolture end of the project (Uhlmann Road to the Caboolture-Bribie Island Road), with the aim of completing six lanes to Caboolture by 2008.

Gympie urban area

At Gympie, $10.0 million will be provided in 2006-07 for four-laning of the Bruce Highway through the city. Widening will relieve congestion and improve safety.

The conversion of the Bruce Highway to four lanes through Gympie is proceeding independently of the Cooroy to Curra highway planning study involving a long-term bypass of the city. However, a four-lane traffic solution through town is needed in the interim.

Further south on the Sunshine Coast, $5.4 million is being provided for safety works at Black Mountain.

Callemondah overpass

Gladstone's Callemondah overpass will open to traffic in July, providing a new heavy transport link to the Port of Gladstone and relieving traffic pressure on the Dawson Highway.

The $6.8 million railway overpass connects Don Young Drive and Red Rover Road above the North Coast railway line. The Australian and Queensland governments have each contributed $3.0 million. Gladstone City Council, which is managing the project, is contributing also.

Don Young Drive and Red River Road will become a designated B-double and dangerous goods route; directing this type of traffic, as well as commuter traffic, north to the future industrial growth area and around the city to the port.

North and Central Queensland

North Queensland will benefit significantly from the 2006-07 budget, with funding available for a number of projects that have a high priority for safety and traffic efficiency reasons.

Townsville Ring Road: The Australian Government has committed $40.0 million towards the cost of the Townsville Ring Road extension under AusLink. $12.3 million is allocated in 2006-07 to progress the Townsville Ring Road. Currently the road is scheduled to open at the end of 2008.

Townsville-Cairns upgrade: The Australian Government has made available $220.0 million in 2005-06 for substantial rehabilitation, additional overtaking lanes, widening, improved flood immunity, intersection and safety improvements along the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns. The Government will develop a suitable works programme with the Queensland Government, but the $220.0 million is available immediately.

Tully flood immunity works: Funding is provided immediately to complete design, planning and construction of the major $128.0 million upgrade of the highway at Tully to improve flood immunity. This project will take about three years to complete.

The 15 km realignment closely follows the eastern side of the existing highway between Corduroy Creek and the Tully River. North of the Tully River, it deviates to the west to follow the railway line just to the south of Dallachy Road.

Cardwell Range planning: The Australian Government continues to fund planning of route improvements across the Cardwell Range, with $440,000 available in 2006-07. On-ground investigations and planning have begun for a future upgrade of the Bruce Highway's northern crossing of Cardwell Range, between Ingham and Tully. The Australian Government is providing almost $1.0 million for this complex investigation of the best options for improving this 3 km section. Public consultation will begin soon.

Wilmington overpass: More than $17.0 million is allocated in 2006-07 for the $23.0 million realignment of the Bruce Highway between Plain Creek and Saltwater Creek at Wilmington. The project involves a bridge over the Wilmington railway level crossing and reconstruction of the road approaches either side. The 5 km upgrade will be completed by April next year.

Rehabilitation works: Funding is available for a number of smaller construction works along the Bruce Highway in Central Queensland. They include the $7.6 million in 2006-07 for the $10.0 million realignment of the highway north of Mackay, from The Leap to the Mandurana turn off, safety improvements between Rockhampton and St Lawrence ($2.0 million allocated in 2006-07) and pavement work near Calen, which receives $490,000 in 2006-07 to complete the project.

Brisbane-Darwin corridor

The third longest intercapital corridor in the AusLink network, this link connects Brisbane and Darwin via Toowoomba, Roma, Longreach, Cloncurry and Mount Isa. The transport task it serves is complex. The need for future improvements stems from the age of the bitumen surface on the more remote sections and the standard of the road alignment. The Australian Government's strategic priority is to maintain connectivity and enhance road safety and reliability.

A Brisbane-Darwin corridor strategy which will assist in identifying future AusLink corridor priorities is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing planning

The Australian Government will provide $10.0 million, including $5.0 million in 2006-07, for a business case that will examine the prospects for developing the proposed bypass of Toowoomba as a public-private partnership. The study has begun and will be ready in 2007.

Barkly Highway

In addition to spending on previous years, AusLink provides more than $116.0 million for upgrading the Barkly Highway between Mt Isa and Camooweal. The Australian Government is funding the final stages of the upgrade following recent completion of several works that form part of the total highway programme.

The Australian Government will provide more than $39.0 million in 2006-07 for construction of new bridges and road upgrading works at Inca and Wooroona Creeks on the Barkly Highway. They will replace narrow bridges and aging pavements that are in poor condition. The total cost of these works is $58.0 million.

The project incorporates several new bridges and approaches on 17 km of new alignment and the rebuilding of almost 19 km of existing highway. By early next year, the Australian Government will have reduced the wet season delays at Camooweal and made the Barkly Highway much safer for the big road trains and tourist vehicles that rely on it all year round.

Upgrading the Wooroona and Inca Creek crossings and adjoining road sections will provide a safer, more efficient Barkly Highway, capable of remaining open longer during the wetter months, with less damage caused to vehicles that use it. Work is due to start shortly, so that the project will be completed in 2007.

Brisbane-Sydney Corridor

Within Queensland, the AusLink Network corridors between Sydney and Brisbane are the coastal Pacific Motorway and the inland Cunningham Highway, which starts near Ipswich and links to the New England Highway north of Warwick.

Tugun bypass

The Australian Government is committed to outlaying $120.0 million by 2007-08, towards the estimated $543.0 million cost of a four-lane bypass west of the Gold Coast airport. The Queensland Government is meeting the remaining costs.

This project receives about $40.0 million in 2005-06, with a further $20.0 million in the 2006-07 Budget. The balance of the Australian Government funding commitment will be met by 2007-08, as agreed with the Queensland Government.

Construction of the 7.5 km Tugun bypass is intended to relieve traffic congestion on the Gold Coast and Pacific Highways by building a new motorway between Currumbin in Queensland and Tweed Heads in New South Wales. It will skirt the airport and the environmentally significant Cobaki wetlands. The Tugun bypass will decrease traffic congestion and improve travelling times. The project is scheduled to open in late 2008.

Cunningham Highway - Eight Mile intersection

The Australian Government is providing the total of $4.25 million, including $4.0 million in 2006-07, for upgrading the Eight Mile intersection at the junction of the New England and Cunningham highways, north of Warwick. The aim is to improve the safety of the intersection, which has a poor crash history. The Queensland Government is finalising design options.

MAINTENANCE

Maintaining the condition of roads on the AusLink National Network addresses transport costs, efficiency and safety. The AusLink Network in Queensland receives $66.3 million in maintenance spending for 2006-07.