An offer of $10 million in Australian Government AusLink funding to target safety improvements along four sections of the Savannah Way would make the road more ‘transport and tourism friendly’ and benefit the key mining, beef and fishing industries, 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 Etheridge Shire Council will be offered the AusLink funds to widen a number of narrow sections of road and improve safety along approximately 91 kilometres of the Savannah Way,” he said.
Senator Boswell said the Australian Government would be in a position to provide its contribution to the Etheridge Shire Council by 30 June, to enable the local project to get underway as soon as possible.
“The total cost of the Etheridge Shire Council’s Savannah Way project amounts to some $19 million and is a major road initiative that will have flow-on benefits for the regional economy, tourism, agriculture and transport sectors.”
“Improved road infrastructure will mean more efficient transport operations and lower costs for local industry, helping to sustain regional 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 submissions for additional regionally-important projects that could be funded under this programme.
“Today’s proposed funding through the Strategic Regional programme comes on top of $433,458 in Roads to Recovery funding allocated to the Etheridge Shire Council for 2007/08 which will improve many local roads across the Shire.”