We're 'committed' to rest areas, Main Roads says

Queensland Government is "committed" to rest areas and will invest beyond the funds allocated in this year's State Budget

By Brad Gardner

The Queensland Government says it is "committed" to heavy vehicle rest areas and will invest beyond the funds allocated in this year's State Budget.

Although no funds will come from Main Roads’ $3.53 billion road construction program, a spokeswoman for the department says revenue will be drawn from three road safety initiatives to improve roadside facilities.

The State Budget, handed down earlier this year, allocated $4 million from the Camera Detected Offences Program next financial year.

While other expenditure measures were not announced in the Budget, the spokeswoman says another $3 million will come from Element 25—a fatigue management initiative—and $500,000 from the Safer Roads Sooner program.

"Rest areas have an essential role in helping all drivers manage fatigue and are integral to the ongoing safety of the state-controlled road network," the spokeswoman says.

However, the plan to deliver 52 new or upgraded rest areas by 2014 under a joint-funded government initiative has not yet been finalised.

"Planning for the program is in the early stages and specific sites are yet to be determined, with delivery of these rest areas expected within the 2009-10 financial year," the spokeswoman says.

The State Government will put $21.5 million towards the project, with the spokeswoman saying consultation with industry stakeholders is already underway.

"The department is working closely with industry, including the Queensland Trucking Association and individual operators, to identify the best locations for heavy vehicle rest areas," she says.

The $7.5 million investment next financial year will coincide with increases in heavy vehicle registration charges, a 0.7 cent cut to the fuel tax credit and the introduction of a fuel tax, which will increase prices by 9.2 cents a litre.

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