Jun 11, 2019

Roads funding fails the pub test

Roads funding fails the pub test

The North Queensland Civil Construction Association (NQCCA) says roads funding announced in state and federal budgets have been drafted to fail.

The State Government has announced $1.45 billion in road funding over a four year period, $144 million of which is earmarked for this financial year.

It’s not likely to be spent because the projects are jointly funded and there are competing priorities with the Federal Government, said NQCCA President Phil Cassell.

The Federal-State funding arrangements are typically 80-20, meaning the Federal Government can now spend $700 million on roads projects this financial year.

The NQCCA gained a commitment from Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack, that they would bring forward any funding where the state could meet its stake.

According to Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, the Federal Government priorities in the far north include:

  • Cairns Southern Access Corridor – $180 million
  • Cairns Ring Road/(western arterial road) – $287 million
  • Cairns to the Northern Territory border – $50 million
  • Cooktown to Weipa – $190 million

State Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the state’s priorities to be announced this week in the budget include:

  • western arterial road duplication,
  • Harley St intersection upgrade and
  • southern access stage five underway.

NQCCA president Phil Cassell said only the Western Arterial Road is aligned.

“The state commitment of $144 million aligns to a Federal Government spend of more than $700 million under the 20:80 funding allocation,” Mr Cassell said. “But there is only one match in four commitments.”

“They need to talk to each other so the funding rollout is not delayed.”

“These opportunities counting to hundreds of millions of dollars, are going by the wayside for want of cooperation.

“The NQCCA wants them to leave the politics in Brisbane and Canberra and work for the benefit of the community.

“We are happy to act as arbiters at a round table to sort through the impasse.”

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