The Queensland Government has released the details of its 2021-22 budget, with significant investment in road and transport infrastructure as well as digital, water and energy all integral parts of the state’s economic recovery. 

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the state’s infrastructure will be boosted by the budget’s investment certainty.

The 2021-22 Budget includes a massive $27.5 billion, four-year road and transport investment plan. 

“Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve injected an extra $1.3 billion into the economy to accelerate almost 200 road and transport projects and support jobs when they were needed,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’ve developed a four-year investment outlook that anticipates future infrastructure demand and backs Queensland workers and businesses.”

Road infrastructure 

Mr Bailey said the Queensland Government continues to prioritise road safety funding in its budget, especially as almost 120 lives have been lost on roads around the state in 2021. 

“The budget is commiting $1.6 billion to prioritise safety upgrades like better rest facilities, new road barriers, extra street lighting and overtaking lanes, audio line-marking and wide centre line treatments on high risk roads across the state,” Mr Bailey said. 

Mr Bailey also discussed the Bruce Highway upgrades, which will benefit from $883 million in additional joint funding to support target upgrades between Gladstone and Rockhampton, north of Townsville and building four lanes at Tiaro.

“The new funding locks in $13 billion in joint funding to continue upgrading priority sections of the 1700km highway over the coming decade,” Mr Bailey said. 

Key road investments 

  • $2.1 billion for Gateway Motorway and Bruce Highway upgrades in northern Brisbane
  • $1.065 billion Rockhampton Ring Road
  • $1 billion Pacific Motorway Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade
  • $1 billion funding commitment for Pacific Motorway Daisy Hill to Logan Motorway
  • $1 billion Bruce Highway Cooroy to Curra Section D
  • $932.2 million Bruce Highway Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway upgrade
  • $750 million Pacific Motorway Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill upgrade
  • $662.5 million Bruce Highway Caboolture – Bribie Island Road to Steve Irwin Way upgrade
  • $543.9 million funding for the Warrego Highway
  • $514.3 million Bruce Highway Haughton River Floodplain upgrade
  • $500 million funding injection to the Bruce Highway (program details, timing and Australian Government funding contribution subject to negotiation with the Australian Government, noting the Queensland Government’s priorities for this additional investment include improvements to sections between Gladstone and Rockhampton, and between Mackay and Proserpine)
  • $500 million funding commitment towards upgrades of the Inland Freight Route (Charters Towers to Mungindi)
  • $481 million Bruce Highway – Cairns Southern Access Corridor (Stage 3), Edmonton to Gordonvale
  • $359 million Cairns Ring Road (Cairns CBD to Smithfield)
  • $350 million Mackay Port Access (Bruce Highway to Mackay – Slade Point Road)
  • $320 million Mooloolah River interchange upgrade (Stage 1)
  • $301.3 million Bruce Highway, Maroochydore Road and Mons Road interchanges upgrade
  • $300 million Cairns Western Arterial Road, Redlynch Connector Road to Captain Cook Highway duplication
  • $244 million Centenary Bridge upgrade
  • $237.5 million funding for the Mount Isa to Rockhampton corridor
  • $230 million Townsville Ring Road (Stage 5)

Infrastructure investment also includes prioritising moving freight across the state, with road and port connections a focus for improvement, such as the $25 million commitment to the $125 million Gladstone Port Access Road project, set to improve access to the port and take trucks off local roads.

“We’re also backing upgrades to key regional highways, with $47.5 million in this budget to support a $237.5 million jointly-funded plan to upgrade sections of the Landsborough and Capricorn Highways and surrounding roads, as part of the Mount Isa to Rockhampton corridor upgrade,” Mr Bailey said. 

“The Inland Freight Route will take trucks off the Bruce Highway, create regional jobs and improve freight productivity for truck drivers, farmers and mine workers.”

Rail infrastructure 

This budget also locks in funding to start building light rail to Burleigh in late 2021 and three new northern Gold Coast train stations as part of the Cross River Rail. 

These rail projects aim to deliver better services and support new jobs and training opportunities.

“Construction of Cross River Rail is continuing, with that $5.4 billion project being delivered in addition to our record $27.5 billion transport and roads budget,” Mr Bailey said. 

“Cross River Rail is on track to open in 2025, and we’ll keep rolling out the $371 million smart ticketing system and progressing the much-needed Kuraby to Beenleigh Rail upgrade to support faster rail services between Gold Coast, Logan and the CBD.”

Key rail investments (including some investments jointly funded with the Australian Government and local governments):

  • $5.4 billion Cross River Rail (100 per cent funded by the Palaszczuk Government and being delivered by the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority)
  • $4.156 billion New Generation Rollingstock being delivered as a Public Private Partnership
  • $1.044 billion Gold Coast Light Rail (Stage 3) Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads (with project costs subject to the finalisation of contract negotiations)
  • $646.4 million European Train Control System Level 2 upgrades
  • $600 million Rollingstock Expansion Project
  • $550.8 million North Coast Line – Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade (Stage 1)
  • $486.9 million train station upgrades at various locations including Albion, Auchenflower, Banyo, Buranda, Cannon Hill, Fairfield to Salisbury, Lindum, Morningside, Southbank, Wooloowin, Bundamba, East Ipswich, Burpengary and Dakabin
  • $356.2 million Gold Coast rail line (Kuraby to Beenleigh) capacity improvement preconstruction activities
  • $292.6 million Clapham Yard Stabling (Moorooka) construction
  • $255 million New Generation Rollingstock, European Train Control System fitment, install new signalling
  • $163 million funding commitment for the Beams Road (Carseldine) rail level crossing
  • $146 million funding commitment for the Boundary Road (Coopers Plains) rail level crossing (project cost, timing and funding arrangements subject to further planning and negotiation with Brisbane City Council)
  • $120 million Queensland Government funding commitment for three new Gold Coast railway stations at Pimpama, Helensvale North and Worongary/Merrimac
  • $114.2 million Mayne Yard (Mayne) upgrade
  • $95.1 million Loganlea train station relocation

Energy infrastructure 

The Budget has also committed $2 billion into renewable energy projects and network upgrades to deliver reliable and affordable power.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the investment in the state’s publicly-owned energy assets will further cement Queensland’s status as a renewables powerhouse.

“Investing in our electricity poles, wires and generators in a way that will set us up for the future will bring jobs during construction and pave the way for growth in our manufacturing and resources sectors,” Mr de Brenni said. 

“To support the continued uptake of renewables, this Budget delivers on a number of large-scale storage commitments, like our $22 million design and cost analysis for pumped hydro at Borumba Dam.”

Mr de Brenni said $222 million would be invested in publicly-owned clean energy operator CleanCo to help drive the state’s renewable energy growth.

Digital infrastructure

The 2021-22 budget is also focussing on digital infrastructure, with investment in drought support, community transport, mobile black spots and cyber security.

Minister for Communities and Digital Economy, Leeanne Enoch, said the Budget is ensuring Queenslanders can continue to access the services and support they need. 

“As Queensland communities are recovering from the pandemic, the Palaszczuk Government is ensuring there are the services and support available to individuals and families,” Ms Enoch said.

“This includes $5.2 million in 2021-22 for the Community Drought Support Program, which forms part of the Palaszczuk Government’s annual drought support package.

“The pandemic highlighted the ongoing necessity for remaining connected digitally, and the growing need to enhance the digital economy, that is why the Palaszczuk Government has allocated funding in the State Budget for digital services.”

$39.6 million has been approved to support service enhancements across Queensland, including continued call centre and online services such as the 134COVID and the Check in Qld app, the next stage support for the Digital Archives Project, and a focus on cyber security.

Key digital economy investments:

  • $7 million per annum on going from 2021–22 for the continuation of Community Transport Program
  • $5.2 million for community drought support as part of the overall Drought Assistance and Reform Package
  • $17.3 million over five years, $4.4 million in 2021–22 to complete the Digital Archives Program which will enable the preservation of digital government records
  • Up to $12 million over three years for the Mobile Black Spot Program
  • $11.3 million in 2021–22 to continue to deliver Smart Service Queensland’s COVID-19 response call centre and online services including quarantine compliance and wellness checks
  • $11 million over two years for whole-of-government cyber security enhancements

Water infrastructure 

The Budget also focuses on water infrastructure, with the Building our Regions program. 

Regional councils are able to bid for $70 million in funding over three years, to improve water and sewerage systems through the sixth round of the Queensland Government’s highly successful Building our Regions program.

Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, Glenn Butcher, said the funding would complement the QLD Government’s long-standing commitment to regional water security.

“The $70 million we’ve committed will be available over the next three years, for councils to target water and sewerage system improvements,” Mr Butcher said.

“Since 2015, the Queensland Government has committed almost $1.9 billion to bulk water infrastructure like Rookwood Weir, Haughton Pipeline and the Mareeba-Dimbulah improvement project.

“But water security happens at a small scale too, in the water treatment plants, reservoirs and water and sewerage systems of our towns and cities.” 

The first five rounds of the program have seen over $348 million be approved towards 271 projects, taking place across 67 councils.

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