State’s $800m plea for inland highway
THE state government has requested $800m from the Commonwealth for long-term works on the Inland Freight Route as part of the 2021-22 budget.
The route is part of the state government's plan for a second major highway through the centre of the state to help encourage trucks to use the inland highway over the Bruce Highway.
Ahead of the 2020 state election, the government committed $200 towards the $1bn commitment, calling on Commonwealth to stump up a further $800m.
It was announced as the alternative to the LNP's Bruce Highway upgrades.
In an answer to a Question on Notice, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said he had written to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack twice and met with him once over the project.
Earlier this month, Mr Bailey wrote to Mr McCormack asking for the $800m commitment for a long-term program of works on the Inland Freight Route from Mungindi to Charters Towers.
"In addition, I formally sought Australian Government consideration to add the Inland Freight Route (Mungindi to Charters Towers) to the National Land Transport Network, in recognition of the critical role it plays as an alternative north - south route to the Bruce Highway, particularly in extreme weather events," Mr Bailey said.
"The Palaszczuk Government commitment builds on existing jointly-funded $125 million Townsville to Roma Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) corridor commitment which is already delivering projects on the corridor.
"In addition to ongoing maintenance on this link, QTRIP outlines $54 million for planning and road network upgrades on the Inland Freight Route, between Mungindi and Charters Towers."
Mr Bailey said the Department of Transport and Main Roads was also looking at planning on the inland corridor to identity deficiencies and required upgrades.
Over the next 18 months, $17.5m will be spent on intersection upgrades on the Carnarvon and the Gregory highways and $22.8m will be spent for widening, pavement strengthening and culvert replacements on the Carnarvon Highway.
Originally published as BIG ASK: State's $800m plea for inland highway