Heavy vehicle operators are set to benefit from $14.4 million in funding from the federal government as part of a national scheme.
The Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme will provide up to 50 per cent of the financing for five projects in Queensland, all of which will focus on road upgrades.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said it is a merit-based initiative aimed at making transport routes safer for truckers and other large vehicle drivers.
“Nationally, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme will provide $200 million for projects through to 2019, as yet another example of the Australian government’s commitment to building safe, productive infrastructure to meet the needs of today and well into the future,” he explained.
The announced projects will commence between Emerald and Clermont, as well as near Roma, Bromelton, Portsmith and Walkamin and Tumoulin. The upgrades will create new job opportunities in the labour market, which could have a positive effect on apprenticeships and traineeships in Queensland.
Jobs for Queensland
Mark Bailey, Queensland’s minister for main roads, welcomed the news, adding that the initiatives will be a joint effort between the Australian government and local authorities.
“Councils across Queensland will be a vital part of the implementation and roll-out of many of the projects selected for funding, and that means jobs for local workers at a time when jobs and job security are more important than ever,” he explained.
“A smoother, more efficient freight network is crucial to Queensland’s economy. It underpins economic growth and jobs for the future.”
According to Mr Bailey, the freight movements will become increasingly efficient due to the road upgrades, supporting crucial networks in and out of the state’s agricultural areas. The regional councils for Tablelands, Scenic Rim, Maranoa and Cairns will all take part in local projects.
He highlighted the proposed renovation of Tingira Street in Portsmith as an example, stating that the improvements would allow heavy vehicles to access the busy freight route through Cairns’ industrial centre. The scheme is expected to cost around $564,000.
Other projects include a $25 million package of works to the Gregory Highway between Emerald and Clermont. Headed by the Queensland Department of Transport, the initiative will result in intersection upgrades, road widening, a decoupling zone and two new rest areas.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator