Key regional roads in northwest Queensland have a strong case for funding as part of a new $300 million programme for development roads that will be prioritised under a re-elected Coalition Government, Nationals Senate Leader, Ron Boswell, said today.
Following a visit to Hughenden, Richmond and Mount Isa, Senator Boswell said a number of roads in the region were vital industry links and in need of improvement. He has spent the past few days travelling through the northwest on the campaign trail with The Nationals candidate for Kennedy, Cr Ed Morrison.
“In and around Richmond, we have the Richmond to Winton road and the Kennedy Development Road that require urgent attention,” Senator Boswell said. “Closer to Mount Isa we have the Burke, Diamantina and Wills Development Roads that should also be on a priority list for improvement works.”
“These roads are major routes for local residents, tourists and industry groups such as the mining and pastoral sectors, and it is critical that they are brought up to a standard suitable for the high volumes of traffic they take each day.”
Senator Boswell said that in addition to the $300 million specifically targeting Development Roads over six years, the Coalition’s 2020 Plan for Local Roads would commit an extra $550 million over six years for the existing Strategic Regional programme, taking the programme to $850 million over six years.
“This extra injection of road funding will help fix more of the region’s ageing and deteriorating roads, ensuring a safer and more efficient transport network for all users,” he said.
“In order for the region to reach its full potential, it is essential that adequate road infrastructure is in place, and we will be working on a partnership basis with local and state governments to upgrade some of these key roads.
“The Coalition believes these roads are vital for the continued development and viability of regional Australia and for our continued export success.”
Senator Boswell said the most recent major roads projects funded by the Australian Coalition Government included $10 million for the Savannah Way, $4.6 million to the Duchess to Phosphate Hill road near Cloncurry and $3.85 million toward the sealing of the Hann Highway north of Hughenden, but he said there was more to be done.
“The Australian Government continues to pick up the slack created by the State Labor Government which has failed to put money on the table for roads outside the southeast corner – it is often a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ with the State Government.”
“A re-elected Australian Coalition Government will, however, continue its commitment to upgrading local roads through these additional funding measures as well as existing programmes such as Roads to Recovery (delivering funds direct to local communities), the road safety Black Spots programme, and Untied Local Road Grants (given directly to local councils for use on their road networks).”
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