A new agreement reached by the Federal and Queensland Governments will bring forward a series of construction and upgrade works in the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative pipeline.
Under the new agreement, works to seal roads, build overtaking lanes, upgrade intersections and improve safety are now set to start sooner on 22 jointly-funded regional road projects, with a combined value of $185 million.
The early works projects are to be delivered on corridors identified under the ROSI initiative.
Key regional routes targeted for works include the Flinders Highway, Kennedy Developmental Road (Hann Highway), Carnarvon Highway, Dawson Highway and Dawson Developmental Road (Springsure – Tambo), Gulf Developmental Road, Gregory Highway and Gregory Developmental Road, Balonne Highway, Gore Highway, Proserpine – Shute Harbour Road and the local government-controlled Floraville Road in Burke Shire.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said investment in inland freight corridors was key to boosting road construction jobs for regional Queensland communities.
“As the effects of COVID-19 ripple through our economy, it is vital all levels of government work together to support jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger and safer regional communities,” Mr McCormack said.
“Delivering early works through the ROSI initiative will give regional Queensland communities access to new projects and jobs.
“We are committed to delivering the Federal Government’s $100 billion, ten-year infrastructure pipeline which will support our economy and create jobs, particularly for those in the construction and building supply chain sectors, through the current COVID-19 response.”
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the agreement reached in November 2019 meant this infrastructure could be brought forward.
“This will support hundreds of jobs across Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The combined value of these early works upgrades on Queensland’s key inland freight corridors is worth about $185 million over the next four years.
“We’ll talk with the local councils through the Regional Roads and Transport Groups and other key industry stakeholders who use those corridors to identify projects that can be prioritised within the remaining ROSI corridor allocations.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the Queensland Government had identified projects which could start in the coming 12 months, while further consultation continued to develop ten-year ROSI corridor investment strategies.
“In the meantime, my department has identified a range of critical projects on each of those corridors including bridge replacements, road sealing and widening and intersection upgrades that can get started earlier while we’re consulting on the longer-term priorities,” he said.
“Council workforces and local contractors will benefit from these contracts too.
“It’s also good news for the freight industry which relies heavily on key inland corridors because it means earlier investment will make these roads safer and more flood resilient – sooner.”
A welcome boost to supply chain resilience
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said that beyond job creation, the decision to bring forward the works would have the additional benefit of helping to enhance the resilience of vital supply chains.
ALC CEO, Kirk Coningham, said the COVID-19 pandemic had brought the need for reliable and resilient supply chains into very sharp focus for many Australians.
“Infrastructure that allows freight to get where it needs to go efficiently and safely will be critical in helping Australian communities and our economy recover from the effects of the pandemic,” Mr Coningham said.
“Ensuring that key regional freight corridors are serviced by reliable infrastructure, including bridges and safe intersections, is vital to support the transportation of export freight – and we know that Australian exporters will play a central role in supporting our post-COVID economic recovery.”
Mr Coningham said the Federal and Queensland Governments should be congratulated on the cooperative way they have worked to secure this agreement and ensure that upgrades to infrastructure on key inland freight corridors can commence more quickly.
“Completing these upgrades will help freight and logistics operators move essential goods more efficiently, protect the safety off all road users and help Australian exporters in their continued efforts to take high-quality products to world markets,’ he said.
“ALC hopes this collaborative approach can be replicated across other jurisdictions, to support Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery.”