Carpentaria Shire Council is set to receive over $22 million to repair the Mitchell River Crossing along Dunbar Koolatah Road in Far North Queensland.
Dunbar Koolatah Road has been closed since December 2022. The crossing links rural properties between Koolatah and Maramie to business centres such as Normanton and Mareeba.
The closure has severely impacted freight in the region, particularly livestock transport that currently needs to deviate more than three hours.
The new $22 million funding is a joint effort by the federal and state governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) under the 2021-22 Betterment Fund, to repair the river crossing.
With the number of disasters experienced in Queensland each year predicted to rise, betterment support is set to rebuild infrastructure to a stronger, more resilient standard.
“The closure of Dunbar Koolatah Road is proving especially challenging right now for livestock transport providers, adding three hours to their travel time as they use an alternate route,” federal emergency management minister Murray Watt said.
“Repairing this crossing to a more resilient standard will be a huge boost for the region, especially local cattle properties and FNQ communities like Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Aurukun and Weipa.
“Betterment funding allows disaster-impacted councils to get on with their flood recovery efforts, with investments like this helping minimise future damage to essential public assets.”
The $22 million Mitchell River Crossing betterment is part of a range of betterment projects worth $170 million being rolled out to Queensland local government areas impacted in the 2021-22 disaster season.
The existing damaged bed-level crossing has been closed throughout the entirety of 2023 due to high water levels and extensive flood damage in the aftermath of the severe monsoon event.
“Flood damage continues to be assessed across the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula regions, following severe thunderstorms and intense rainfall which began in late December last year,” Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles said.
“Many remote and regional communities across Queensland are still feeling the impact of these floods, compounded by last year’s heavy monsoon season.
“Through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, we will continue to support projects like this to ensure the safety and welfare of our most isolated Queenslanders.”