An offer of $3.85 million in Australian Government AusLink funding to target the sealing of the Hann Highway from north of Hughenden to the Kennedy Development Road will improve road safety and come as welcome news to the agricultural sector, Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell, announced today.
Senator Boswell said the funding offer was possible as a result of an extra $250 million committed to the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme in the Federal Budget for the 2006-07 financial year.
“The Flinders Shire Council will be offered the AusLink funds towards its $7.7 million Hann Highway Development project which will target the only unsealed part of the inland route connecting Cairns and Melbourne,” he said.
“The sealing of this stretch of road will enhance access to the inland route for freight cattle and tourism traffic. It will provide better access to lucrative southern markets for produce, reduce vehicle maintenance for industry, greatly improve travel time during wet weather and improve road safety.”
Senator Boswell said the Australian Government would be in a position to provide its contribution to the Flinders Shire Council by 30 June, to enable the local project to get underway as soon as possible.
“Improved road infrastructure will mean more efficient transport operations and lower costs for local industry, helping to sustain jobs.”
Senator Boswell said councils extended the funding offer would be required to provide, or secure, partner funding to the level sought when they lodged their AusLink Strategic Regional Programme project applications last year.
“The Australian Government has announced it will invest an extra $300 million in the AusLink Strategic Regional Programme under AusLink 2, which will enable councils to submit new applications. The extra funding will be allocated in two $150 million funding rounds held in 2009–10 and 2011–12.
Senator Boswell encouraged local councils to begin working on submission for additional regionally-important projects that can be funded under this programme.
“Today’s proposed funding through the Strategic Regional programme comes on top of $567,545 in Roads to Recovery funding allocated to the Flinders Shire Council for 2007/08 which will improve many local roads across the Shire.”
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