Queensland will receive over half of the $100m funding under the Federal Government's beef roads program announced this week and the north west will see some of the benefit.
Roads to be upgraded include parts of the Burke Development Road, the Richmond-Croydon Road, the Cloncurry Dajarra Road, the Diamantina Developmental Road and the Richmond–Winton Road.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester made the announcement on Monday saying the program recognised moving cattle from the farm gate to market involved some of the longest and most challenging land transport distances of any industry, anywhere in the world.
“The beef roads program will support economic development in the north by funding targeted upgrades on key roads necessary for transporting cattle—improving the resilience of cattle supply chains, improving safety, and reducing travel times, vehicle operating and maintenance costs,” he said.
Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said rural communities would be relieved but this was something that should have happened years ago.
"This funding is extremely vital after years of minimal investment, some of these roads remain unsealed despite providing a huge amount of business to the area,” Mr Katter said.
The roads to receive the funding through the Beef Roads Program were selected through modelling by the CSIRO's TraNSIT (Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool) which analysed transport and logistics options for agriculture to identify potential cost savings.
Mr Katter said Mount Isa electorate would receive $9m in road funding from the project. “The cattle industry desperately needs support and investment,” he said.
"We need more than a symbolic focus on North Queensland and hope this is a sign of better things to come.”
But not everyone was happy with Queensland’s Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey conspicuously absent from the funding announcement in Rockhampton.
Mr Bailey said the federal government was still withholding $150m for regional Queensland projects.
“The Palaszczuk Government put forward our 26 priority projects in November last year but we had to wait for the lengthy Federal election campaign seven months later to get just six of the projects committed to by the Turnbull Government,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’re now being drip-fed another funding announcement for four more projects, despite us having our 20 per cent on the table for all of the projects, ready to go, and have been since our State Budget in June.”