Green light for Inland Freight Route in federal budget

inland highway

Queensland transport operators are celebrating the announcement today that the federal government will commit $400 million in tomorrow’s budget to the development of an Inland Freight Route.

The Queensland Trucking Association listed this infrastructure investment in its Think Big Election Priorities for the Queensland State Election last year and lobbied hard both at a state and federal level for buy-in.

“Queensland will now have a genuine freight route that is a safe alternative to the Bruce Highway,” said QTA CEO Gary Mahon of the proposed 1200km route from Mungindi to Charters Towers.

“This significant infrastructure investment will unlock access for high productivity combinations, build regional capacity and more efficiently connect the major freight routes leading to lower production costs.

“Combined with a recent announcement by the Queensland State Government of $200 million, the Inland Freight Route will now become a reality.”

inland highway

Mahon said this landmark announcement gives him confidence that Queensland’s voice is being heard and the association’s advocacy efforts are ensuring that road freight is recognised as a significant contributor to the economy.

“The road freight industry is vital for the operation and survival of the vast geographical footprint of communities and business across the nation,” said Mahon.

“The reliance on the road freight industry has never been more profound due to the extensive and ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 economic crisis with disrupted global supply chains, simmering trade tensions and weaker demand.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project will provide a vital alternative to the Bruce Highway, improving road safety and the efficiency of the road network.

“This investment will deliver a long-term program of priority works between Mungindi on the NSW border and Charters Towers, which will connect vital goods with markets and support more than 600 jobs,” said the Deputy Prime Minister in a statement today.

“The Australian Government has committed $400 million to this $500 million project with construction expected to commence in early 2023.”

Other key Queensland projects to be funded include:

  • An additional $400 million for Bruce Highway Upgrades
  • $240 million for the Cairns Western Arterial Road Duplication
  • $178.1 million for the Gold Coast Rail Line Capacity Improvement (Kuraby to Beenleigh) – Preconstruction
  • $160 million for the Mooloolah River Interchange Upgrade (Packages 1 and 2)
  • An additional $126.6 million for Gold Coast Light Rail – Stage 3
  • $35.3 million for the Maryborough-Hervey Bay Road and Pialba-Burrum Heads Road Intersection Upgrade; and
  • $10 million for the Caboolture – Bribie Island Road (Hickey Road-King John Creek) Upgrade.

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