Gillard commits to Tas and Qld road upgrades

Government commits to road upgrades in Tasmania and North Queensland if re-elected

July 26, 2010

The Federal Government will build new on and off ramps between the Tasman and East Derwent highways in Tasmania if re-elected, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says.

Albanese says planning will start as soon as early 2011 to improve the intersection between the two highways.

However, construction is slated for the next round of funding under the Nation Building Program. Albanese says the project will begin in the 2014-2015 financial year. Planning work is expected to cost $2 million.

The announcement comes as Treasurer Wayne Swan promised $10 million to plan for a future Mackay Ring Road in North Queensland.

Swan says the work will detail a preferred route, cost of the upgrade and construction timelines.

He says the growth in Mackay’s population is putting pressure on the region’s road infrastructure.

Money for the works is designed to come from the resources rent tax on the mining industry, and planning will begin this financial year.

Upon announcing the tax, the Government pledged to use $6 billion in revenue to fund infrastructure in resource rich states such as Queensland and Western Australia.

The tax is not supported by the Coalition, which has vowed to oppose it in opposition and rescind when in government.

"Queensland stands to receive at least $2 billion from the Regional Infrastructure Fund and the Mackay Ring Road is a good example of the economic infrastructure that will be needed in the future to help deal with growing pressure from the mining sector," Swan says.

The case for the route will be submitted to Infrastructure Australia, the government body established to guide federal infrastructure investment.

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