Government pressured to fast-track funding for Yeppoon Road
FULLY aware of the CQ community’s desire to see construction start sooner on the treacherous Rockhampton-Yeppoon Rd upgrade, Labor Party politicians are pressuring the Federal Government to hand over their promised funding sooner.
Standing at the entrance to Baga National Park, watching some of the 11,000 cars which travel the Rockhampton-Yeppoon road daily, Labor Senator Murray Watt and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga appealed to Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and her government to bring forward their funding to fast-track the $80 million project and local employment.
Public consultation got underway this month to determine where the priority locations were, to start building the $80 million project, but construction is scheduled to begin in 2023 according to the Transport and Main Roads website.
If the federal money was to appear in TMR’s coffers sooner, Ms Lauga was confident construction could begin sooner.
“(Public) consultation is already underway, it finishes at the end of this month,” Ms Lauga said.
“Bring the money forward and we could start work perhaps by the end of this year.
“But the fact of the matter is that the money’s not budgeted by the Federal Government until the following financial year.
Senator Watt said there had been “complete silence” from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his local LNP representatives about how Central Queensland was going to recover from the downturn being experienced from COVID-19 and it was important we started hearing some ideas about how to create jobs.
“One thing they could be doing is bringing forward and fast-tracking some of the infrastructure projects that they’ve already got on the books here for Central Queensland, such as the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Rd upgrade,” Senator Watt said.
“That’s a good project, it’s there in the budget but the money’s not actually going to be flowing from the Federal Government for another 18 months.
“There’s nothing stopping this government fast-tracking that kind of project or other projects across Central Queensland that we can actually get jobs happening right now.”
Ms Landry has continually disputed that the hold up to the project was on the Federal Government’s end and has rejected Labor’s latest claims about the project.
“This is not a matter of federal funding not being available, it is a matter of how fast the Queensland Government can deliver the project,” Ms Landry said.
“If they need more, they need to pick up the phone and tell us of more opportunities for joint funding to be brought forward instead of playing silly games.
“It’s classic form for the Member for Keppel and the fly-in-fly-out Senator Murray Watt to play games with important infrastructure projects in the area,”
Ms Landry said federal funding had already been forthcoming.
“We have approved $8 million of federal funding and this funding approved was at the request of Queensland Government. We approved what they asked for,” she said.
“The rest of our funding stands ready to be delivered as required by the Queensland Government.
“Should they be able to deliver the project faster, we can align our funding to match the delivery schedule.”
Senator Watt accused the Federal Government of short changing CQ after recently announcing a list of 15 major economic projects to be “fast-tracked”, estimated to contribute more than $72 billion in public and private investment and support tens of thousands of jobs across Australia.
Of the approved, only one was in Queensland, and not one “fast-tracked” project is north of Brisbane.
“It just goes to show how little Scott Morrison values Central Queensland, and its enormous potential to deliver big projects for Australia,” Senator Watt said.
“Central Queensland’s LNP representatives Michelle Landry, Ken O’Dowd and Matt Canavan should be banging down Scott Morrison’s door, demanding the region gets the same ‘fast-tracked’ treatment as the southern states.
“We need real investment in infrastructure projects, not more overhyped announcements that take years to appear.”
Ms Landry responded saying the proof of her government’s commitment to this region’s infrastructure projects “was in the pudding”.
“I recently announced that Rockhampton Yeppoon Road will have funding brought forward, along with Peak Downs Highway and May Downs Road,” she said.
“In June, the Australian Government announced an additional $415 million of joint funding with the Queensland Government to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades to support infrastructure construction jobs across Queensland over the next two years, including a number of projects in Capricornia.”
The community consultation on the upgrade will remain open until the end of August 2020.
To have your say head to www.tmr.qld.gov.au/YeppoonRoadUpgrade
- 2017: Strategic planning started.
- 2019: $80m joint funding commitment from the Australian and Queensland Governments.
- June 2020: Scoping Phase Project Proposal Report (PPR) submitted to Australian Government for review and approval for release of business case development funds.
- June 2020: Approval of Scoping Phase PPR and $10m funding ($8m Australian Government, $2m Queensland Government contribution) to commence Business Case development.
- July to August 2020: Community consultation to identify community priorities for targeted upgrades.
- September 2020 to January 2021: Options analysis.
- February 2021 to August 2021: Business case development.
- December 2021: Design commences.
- Early 2023 to mid-2025: Construction (dependent on final scope).
Key features of upgrade
- Increased economic productivity by reducing costs to industry through better efficiency on the route and lower travel times.
- Improved road safety by reducing unsafe overtaking and the associated risks of head-on collisions.
- Increased safety for active transport users.
- Increased route capacity to accommodate future growth in traffic volume through increased economic activity in the region.
- Increased flood immunity.