Funding of $400 million will go towards sealing over 450 kilometres of key beef transport corridors throughout Central Queensland.
The Australian Government funding was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce at the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) in Gracemere.
“The value of beef production in Australia is forecast to increase 8 per cent to a record $15.7 billion in 2021-22 and it is essential that we put the infrastructure in place to support this massive industry,” said Joyce.
“Central Queensland is incredibly important to the success of our nation’s beef industry and sealing these roads will unlock greater economic opportunities for the region.”
Central Highlands Regional Council has welcomed the funding commitment, which it says comes after 12 months of lobbying from seven Central Queensland mayors, who joined forces to put the Queensland Beef Corridors campaign firmly on the agenda.
“Throughout this campaign we have met and spoken with a collection of passionate people with skin in the game,” said Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes.
“Graziers, feedlotters, stock agents, transporters, saleyard operators, processors and many more. This is life-changing for them, opening up the potential of this region and future-proofing this vital industry.
“This investment is long-overdue. Communities in Central Queensland represent a quarter of our nation’s beef herd, this is the most valuable beef supply chain in the world and this funding finally recognises that.”
Hayes continued, “We know that these roads are state-controlled assets. We will be working hard within our road transport groups and with our regional transport departments to ensure that this initiative is delivered in an efficient and effective timeframe for our local government areas.”
Hayes added that the upgrades would also mean safer roads, improved job security, greater tourism opportunities and access to services.
“I congratulate the Councils for their vision and collaboration to develop a strategic plan that will grow Central Queensland’s massive beef industry for years to come,” Joyce added.
$300 million will be provided to seal 457 kilometres of partially unsealed roads, with the remaining $100 million to extend heavy vehicle corridors along the Dawson, Leichhardt and Burnett Highways.
Extra funding has also been announced for upgrades to Bonnie Doon Road and Springsure-Tambo Road.
The Australian Government had already allocated $9.6 million in the last budget for upgrades to Bonnie Doon Road, which also has a $2.4 million contribution from council.
These works along a 13 kilometre stretch will be completed by council, and involve sealing to a two-lane standard, drainage improvements, alignment improvements and bridge upgrade across Sandhurst Creek.
To add, an extra $5.6m has been secured for the Springsure-Tambo Road where works will include a new bridge across the Barcoo River. This funding is in addition to $11.4 million from the state government.