Bruce Hwy major upgrade funding in state Budget

Inland Freight Route cash also confirmed by treasurer Cameron Dick

Bruce Hwy major upgrade funding in state Budget
Cameron Dick

Queensland’s Bruce Highway is a major focus of this year’s state Budget, which foresees $27.5 billion over four years being spent on road infrastructure.

It will be supported by federal cash and it joins other road and port projects in the mix.

"We will improve the safety, the capacity and the resilience of the Bruce Highway, from Brisbane to Cairns," state treasurer Cameron Dick says.

"We have locked in an $883 million jointly funded boost for the Bruce, to build four lanes at Tiaro, north of Gympie, and upgrades between Gladstone and Proserpine and north of Townsville.

"And we’ll take trucks off the Bruce, rolling out a jointly funded $500 million upgrade to the Inland Freight Route between Charters Towers and New South Wales."

But the inland route cash is dwarfed by the "signature" $1.5 billion Coomera Connector, "to provide a second M1".

The Budget has a capital program of $14.7 billion for infrastructure in 2021–22, with 61.2 per cent provided for projects outside of Greater Brisbane.

Bruce Highway upgrades to improve safety, flood resilience and capacity include:

  • $1.1 billion for the Rockhampton Ring Road project
  • $1 billion for the 26km Cooroy to Curra upgrade near Gympie
  • $662.5 million for widening between Caboolture-Bribie Island Road and Steve Irwin Way
  • $514.3 million to construct bridges and approaches on the Haughton River Floodplain
  • $481 million for widening as part of the Cairns Southern Access Corridor Stage 3 project
  • $230 million for the Townsville Ring Road (stage 5)
  • $120.4 million for the Mackay Northern Access Upgrade project
  • $150 million for the Walkerston Bypass – to construct a new two-lane highway connecting Peak Downs Highway to the Mackay Ring Road.

Read the response of industry to the Inland Freight Route, here

The ongoing Heavy Vehicle Safety Productivity initiative – part of the federal Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and jointly funded – gains $11.5 million ongoing.

Queensland’s regional port operators also gain a range of project funding.

The spending, much of it with freight implications, includes:

  • $38.3 million to Ports North for its regional ports, including $24.5 million for infrastructure at the Cairns Marine Precinct and $1 million to complete the Cairns Shipping Development
  • $118.5 million in 2021–22 to Gladstone Ports Corp for capital works at the Ports of Gladstone, Bundaberg and Rockhampton (Alma). This includes $44.1 million for RG Tanna Coal Terminal asset upgrades, $14.1 million for port services, $9.8 million for Auckland Point berths, and $6.5 million for marina and pilot projects
  • $18.8 million to North Queensland Bulk Ports to continue port planning and development including $8.7 million towards wharf renewals
  • $65.3 million in 2021–22 to Port of Townsville Ltd to continue the $232 million channel capacity upgrade project to widen the channels for access by larger vessels, delivered in partnership with the federal government.

Queensland Rail gets $900.4 million towards capital purchases for Queensland, with $358.7 million to replace, renew and upgrade rail infrastructure, rollingstock, buildings, facilities and other network assets across the state.

Support measures for small business includes the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy, which maps out how $140 million of support for small business will be delivered.

This comprises $100 million for a Business Investment Fund, support to establish a permanent Queensland Small Business Commissioner and $30 million to increase small business skills and capability through grants and other support for small business.

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