$223 million funding boost for urgent WA road upgrades

THE Western Roads Federation has welcomed news of a $223 million boost for roading in Western Australia.

The funding injection – $176m from the Federal Government and $47m from state – will focus on “shovel-ready” projects along the Great Eastern and Bussell Highways, Exmouth Road and Toodyay Road while simultaneously delivering a dedicated road safety package right across regional WA, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

“Overall this package is estimated to support more than 1,000 jobs during construction, which is absolutely fantastic news for locals and communities across the state,” said Mr McCormack.

“By investing in critical infrastructure projects across the country, we are doing more than just supporting local jobs and businesses at this critical time. We are investing in our future beyond COVID-19 by delivering lasting infrastructure which will kick-start our economic recovery and benefit Australians for years to come.”

Western Roads Federation chief executive Cam Dumesny said it’s great to see WA getting the respect and investment it deserves from the east.

“What is routinely overlooked is that WA is the nation’s most successful exporting state not just because we have good mineral & gas deposits and good agricultural land, it is because we also have world class supply chains, a critical part of which is our road transport sector,” he said.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said the Regional State Road Safety Improvement Program would see the two Governments invest $100 million across the state to deliver improvements over the next year.

“The Road Safety Improvement Program will widen, seal or install audio-tactile line markings on more than 20 regional routes right across the State to reduce run-off-road crashes,” Mr McGowan said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Australian Government’s $176 million contribution builds on its nationwide $100 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline.

“Federal funding for this package has been drawn from the recently announced $1.5 billion allocation to priority shovel-ready projects and targeted road safety works,” Senator Cormann said.

“We are continuing to work closely with all levels of Government making decisions to create jobs and support our economic recovery.”

Senator Cormann further said that bringing forward these key infrastructure projects is part of $13.8 billion in infrastructure funding for Western Australia that the Federal Government has committed to transport infrastructure projects to date.

“The Federal Government is committed to projects that get West Australians home sooner and safer. But particularly as we look to grow the West Australian economy on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, we want to guarantee work for local trades and keep money flowing through local businesses throughout the construction phase and beyond,” Senator Cormann said.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the funding injection would also deliver shovel-ready fixes to Thomas Road.

“For Perth motorists that includes creating dual lanes for an extra kilometre between the Kwinana Freeway and Nicholson Road and a much-needed intersection upgrade,” Mr Tudge said.

“Thomas Road is used by around 19,000 vehicles every single day and this funding means shovels will be in the ground sooner to support local jobs and the economy.”

Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the funding injection would support local jobs, businesses and the economy while providing lasting infrastructure to help the State bounce back as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

“This funding injection will help us start work on even more critical regional road infrastructure including the dualling of Bussell Highway, upgrades to key tourism roads in Exmouth and key freight roads through Toodyay,” Ms Saffioti said.

“These projects will support our local regional economies, creating and supporting local jobs whilst also improving safety.”

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