The Inland Queensland Roads Action Plan (IQ-RAP) is in the running to receive a prestigious national award for its economic development excellence.
IQ-RAP is a finalist in the Economic Development Australia ‘Awards for Excellence’ to be held in Victoria Thursday.
IQ-RAP Working Group Chair and Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton said it was an honour to be named as an award finalist with such a high calibre of entries from across Australia.
“Nine awards will be presented, with IQ-RAP one of just two finalists in the category of Economic Development Initiatives – Rural and Remote,” Cr Britton said.
Cr Britton said the IQ-RAP was a major initiative to drive economic growth and jobs in rural Queensland.
“The project is the result of a strategic collaboration of 49 funding partners, including 33 councils - 32 of those councils in rural and regional Queensland, as well as eight Regional Roads Transport Groups, five Regional Development Australia committees and RACQ,” he said.
“RDA Townsville and North West Queensland has also played a vital role in driving this project forward as Secretariat.”
IQ-RAP Secretariat and RDA CEO Glenys Schuntner said one of the motivating factors behind the project had been high unemployment in the regions.
“This project is not just about building roads, but also about creating local jobs, sustaining existing industries and opening up new opportunities such as tourism,” Ms Schuntner said.
“Since the IQ-RAP was launched in February 2016, the Working Group has met with more than 100 parliamentarians, departments and key stakeholders to brief them on the significance of this project and how it will create jobs, drive productivity and attract investment.
“The Working Group has also presented the plan to more than 1000 stakeholders through meetings and forums.”
The IQ-RAP is the first of its type in Australia, which identifies upgrades on a rural road network of around 16,000 kilometres over the next 18 years.
The plan has identified that over 3,000 kilometres of road and more than 300 bridges require upgrades to meet ‘fit for purpose’ standards for businesses and tourism across the region.
The Economic Development Australia award winners will be announced at the 2017 National EDA Conference in Ballarat.