Toowoomba Range Bypass wins $321m funding in budget
THE Toowoomba Range Bypass is one step closer after Treasurer Tim Nicholls used his budget speech to announce that the formal expression of interest documents for the $1.606 billion project will be released to the market on Wednesday.
Mr Nicholls said he had also signed a memorandum of understanding with his federal counterpart to deliver the project.
"We have been able to secure almost $1.3 billion for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project which is one of the largest regional road projects ever undertaken in Australia," he said.
"Make no mistake, after 20 years of talk by previous governments this LNP Government is delivering on its commitment to the people of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
Mr Nicholls said $30.4 million had been allocated in the State Budget toward the project.
He said the total State Government commitment of $321.25m towards the project will be delivered over five-years.
"I acknowledge the great work of local members John McVeigh and Trevor Watts in supporting this project as well as Mayor Paul Antonio and Federal MP Ian Macfarlane."
Mr Nicholls said he expected construction on the 41 kilometre project to commence early to mid-next year.
He said the project was due to be completed in mid-2018.
Mr Nicholls said it was a worker budget - one for building and fortifying the state - "not one of flashy new announcements and programs".
The government will spend $1.5 million converting the Southern Queensland Correction Centre at Gatton into a women's prison.
Almost $200 million will be spent with councils for "recovery and reconstruction", with funds coming from both state and federal governments.
The Darling Downs power network will be repaired and improved for $159.8 million.
There will be $24.5 million from both state and federal governments to improve the Warrego Highway between Toowoomba and Miles, with the stretch from Nugents Pinch Road to west of Charlton the first priority.
Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim residents will be given access to online "one-stop shops", which will allow users to renew drivers' licenses online as part of 50 separate state government services.
Under the Royalties for the Regions scheme, $106.3 million will be spent on 32 projects in the Balonne, Goondiwindi, Maranoa, Toowomba and Western Downs shires, including road upgrades and flood mitigation works.
Chinchilla will share $4.6 million with Mt Isa for new neighbourhood and youth centres.
Mr Nicholls said the lack of headline-grabbing promises will allow the government to achieve a small surplus of $188 million by mid-2015.