The Federal Government has issued a suite of funding for road safety improvements up north, with $33.3 million allocated to the Northern Territory and $225 million for Queensland.
The federal funding comes under the first tranche of the $2 billion Road Safety Program. The Northern Territory Government will provide a further $13.7 million, and the Queensland Government a further $64.6 million.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the works under tranche 1 of the $2 billion Road Safety Program will commence in January 2021 and be completed by June 2021, improving safety and supporting jobs across the country.
“This first tranche of funding will deliver measures that will save lives across 43 projects in the Territory, resulting in safety upgrades to around 150km of the Territory’s road network,” Mr McCormack said.
“Projects will include upgrades to regional roads, such as shoulder widening, installation of audio tactile line markings and roadside barriers, intersection safety improvements and construction of rest areas and truck stop facilities.
“Importantly, this is only the first batch of projects to be approved under the program for the Territory, with a total of up to $96 million available to the Northern Territory to continue to roll out lifesaving upgrades across the road network through to June 2022.”
The Federal Government’s funding for the Road Safety Program is subject to ‘use it or lose it’ provisions and will deliver lifesaving measures on regional roads and to protect vulnerable road users across the Territory, while also supporting local jobs and providing a welcome boost to local economies.
The ‘use it or lose it’ provisions require states and territories to use their notionally allocated funds within a timeframe, or the funds can be reallocated to projects in other jurisdictions.
Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler, said every Territorian has the right to return home safely – that is why the Northern Territory Government is committing $13.7 million to multiple road safety packages to deliver on our Towards Zero road safety goals.
“This investment will also create new local jobs across a number of industries, continuing our Government’s focus on economic development and jobs for Territorians, while also supporting new infrastructure projects,” Ms Lawler said.
“I am also pleased that funding will enable preparatory works to commence on the long awaited Tiger Brennan Drive/Berrimah Road overpass, where a number of people have lost their lives.”
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, said road safety was a key priority for the Federal Government and this investment in road upgrades would provide a boost to the economy while ensuring Australians can get home sooner and safer.
“Making our roads safer is a critical component of our work to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads and move towards achieving vision zero,” Mr Buchholz said.
“Projects are already underway through the $500 million Targeted Road Safety COVID stimulus package and this additional funding complements that work, resulting in an even greater roll out of improved infrastructure and roads right across the nation.”
Senator for Northern Territory, Dr Sam McMahon, said one of the key projects expected to be rolled out across the life of the program is the construction of an overpass at the Tiger Brennan Drive/Berrimah Interchange, which is one of the Territory’s busiest intersections and has been the site of tragic fatal crashes.
“Through this first tranche of the Road Safety Program we are seeing $5 million to get this critical project underway, which once finalised will improve traffic flow for commuter and industrial/commercial traffic and reduce crashes at this intersection,” Dr McMahon said.
“This vital funding is not only providing a much-needed boost to local jobs and the economy, it is delivering safety measures to ensure road users stay safe on our roads.
“The most important thing we can do for our community is ensure we all get home safely as even one death or one serious injury crash on our roads is one too many.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Ryan, said the joint funding announcement would see another 87 projects across Queensland started and completed within the next six months, creating close to 1,000 jobs and safer roads for families, businesses and industry.
“It means just over a year, the Queensland and Australian governments have delivered more than $5 billion in stimulus to build roads and create jobs as part of the state’s economic recovery plan,” Mr Ryan said.
“Last year was one of the worst when it comes to the number of lives lost on our roads – so to be able to make our roads safer sooner while also supporting employment in our regional communities is a great outcome as we enter the new year.
“These projects will add to the record $26.9 billion in roads and transport projects being delivered by the Queensland Government over the next four years, and our real jointly-funded $12.6 billion Bruce Highway plan.”
Queensland Assistant Regional Roads Minister, Bruce Saunders, said the list of projects would see intersections with a high crash history made safer, roads widened and more dirt roads sealed.
“These types of projects play an important part in supporting our industries right across Queensland, in particular those industries that rely on our regional roads to transport goods,” Mr Saunders said.
“They build on major projects already being delivered like the $480 million Bruce Highway upgrade south of Cairns, the $1 billion Gympie Bypass and $514.3 million Bruce upgrade south of Townsville.
“The works will give new opportunities for businesses as we continue to recover from COVID-19 and spark more jobs in industries like construction, traffic management and engineering.”