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Community & Business

28 December, 2021

Local transport route study to be made public

A $1.6 MILLION study into how transport routes can be improved between Cairns and the northern Tablelands is set to be made public early next year.

By Robyn Holmes

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford made the announcement amidst calls from local councils to apply for $21.5 million in Federal funding to undertake a business case on the Kuranda Range Road to investigate possible solutions to improve the transport corridor or consider alternate routes. 

But Mr Crawford said the Queensland Government, local councils and key stakeholders must first consider the findings of the Cairns to Northern Tablelands Access study. 

“This is a very detailed report,’’ Mr Crawford said. 

“It looks at improving the capacity and efficiency of transport routes between Cairns and the Northern Tablelands. 

“The Kuranda Range section of Kennedy Highway is part of this study, but the scope of the project is much broader, and it also looks at Palmerston Highway, Gillies Range Road, Mossman- Mt Molloy Road and other alternatives.” 

Last week, 12 Mayors who are members of the Far Northern Queensland Organisation of Councils (FNQROC), called on the State to access the Federal funding, having a virtual delegation with Federal Ministers, Shadow Ministers and Queensland Senators to make it clear that finding a solution to the inefficiencies, capacity and safety issues of Kuranda Range Road was a top priority for the region. 

Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin says the road is currently constraining economic growth on the Tablelands. 

“This road is the gateway to Cape York Peninsula, Gulf of Carpentaria and the Tablelands. Reliable efficient access is paramount for our industries, our communities to access health and education and reliability for our tourists,” she said.

There had been a number of proposed solutions to open access to the Tablelands over the years and it was important now that the State Government undertook the business case to determine which option would provide the best outcome. 

To develop the business case, the Federal Government has made $21.5 million available – significantly more than usual due to the terrain, geometry and location within the World Heritage Wet Tropics. 

FNQROC chair and Douglas Mayor Michael Kerr has urged the State to act immediately. 

“Our state counterparts must get on board with this issue. Without the ability to work on a solution for the ongoing problem, it will continue to devastate any economic growth prospects for those shires beyond the range,” he said.

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