Local governments across regional Queensland are leading the charge in seeking equity in government funding for the strategic inland road network to provide benefits to industry, communities and tourism.
The Inland Queensland Road Network Strategy was launched in Ingham last week at the Northern Alliance of Councils Annual Conference.
The Network Strategy has been a collaboration of 28 local governments, five Regional Development Australia Committees and RACQ, to develop a bi-partisan approach to the prioritisation of funding and development of inland Queensland roads.
Chair of the Inland Queensland Roads Action Project Working Group and Mayor of Boulia, Rick Britton, said the IQ-RAP is about seeking a more strategic, long-term planning and funding commitment for inland Queensland roads.
“The Working Group and partners identified the 16,200 kilometres of strategic freight routes on the inland road network that would generate regional economic benefits,” Cr Britton said.
Deputy Chair of the IQ-RAP Working Group and Mayor of Mareeba, Tom Gilmore, said the plan had been updated with new data since it was released two years ago.
“This is an economic initiative to drive jobs growth, increase productivity, open up new tourism opportunities and provide resilient connectivity between communities,” Cr Gilmore said.
“The IQRNS would deliver benefits to industry and support Australian Government strategies to enhance the productivity of northern Australia, while contributing to the national economy through providing improved and more direct connectivity to southern markets.”
The IQRNS analyses data on road and bridge conditions against established Queensland Transport and intervention and vision standards, and prioritises investment based on economic value, strategic intent, safety, access and social value.
The IQRNS identified the road network and prioritised upgrades over the next 15 years and beyond. The methodology is used to monitor the infrastructure gap and review priorities.
Deputy Chair of the IQ-RAP Working Group and Mayor of Flinders, Jane McNamara said local governments were encouraged by the focus on the north.
“We welcome the federal roll out of the Northern Australia Roads Program and the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program,” Cr McNamara said. “Now we’d like to see similar investment in a strategic inland road network north and south of the Tropic of Capricorn – that covers rural Queensland from west to Mount Isa, north to Mareeba to south of St George.
“A small funding investment in this road network from governments would provide long term benefits.”
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