Aug 22, 2018

Councils unite in push for inland roads investment

Councils unite in push for inland roads investment

Rural and regional Queensland councils have released the latest strategy document in a funding fight for the inland road network.

The Inland Queensland Road Network Strategy (IQRNS) was launched in Ingham today 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 (IQ-RAP) Working Group and Mayor of Boulia, Cr Rick Britton, said the IQ-RAP was about seeking a more strategic, long-term planning and funding commitment for inland Queensland roads.

“The Working Group and partners identified the 16,200km 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, Cr Tom Gilmore, said the first plan had been updated with the latest data since it was released over 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 existing data on road and bridge conditions against established Queensland Transport and Main Roads 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 can be used to monitor the infrastructure gap and review priorities.

Deputy Chair of the IQ-RAP Working Group and Mayor of Flinders, Cr Jane McNamara, said local governments had been encouraged by the focus on developing the north.

“We welcome the Australian Government’s roll-out of the Northern Australia Roads Program and the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program,” Cr McNamara said.

“Now we would like to see similar investment in a strategic inland road network north and south of the Tropic of Capricorn – that covers rural and regional Queensland from as far west as Mount Isa, north to Mareeba to the south-east of St George and Roma.

“A small funding investment in this road network from governments would provide long term and lasting benefits for this generation and generations to come.”

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