The federal government is investing a further $50 million to improve an iconic tourist route between Tropical North Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The funding will go towards sealing the unsealed sections of the Gulf Savannah Way, which has been identified through the federal government’s $3.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
This announcement is part of a wider $730 million Northern Queensland Roads Package announcement that will be made today by Federal Northern Australia Minster Matt Canavan.
The Queensland section of the Gulf Savannah Way takes in 313km with almost 60 per cent of the road already sealed.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said once the Queensland section of the road is fully sealed it would improve flood resilience and provide increased economic opportunities to many regional communities along the route.
He said this funding was made available because he had listened, acted and delivered for the community.
“Large segments of the road remain unsealed and flood prone, isolating communities during the wet season and limiting the economic value of this critical northern road link,” Mr Entsch said.
“On completion, the sealed road will improve flood resilience, support local communities, improve tourism opportunities and increase agricultural prosperity.
“The works will include pavement upgrade, bitumen sealing, minor realignments of substandard curves, concrete causeways and upgrades to four major river crossings, in the Carpentaria, Burke and Doomadgee Shires”
Mr Entsch said the complete sealing of the Gulf Savannah Way would be a 10 year project and it would result in jobs and opportunities for small businesses.
He said he expected the Queensland Government would contibute its 20 per cent towards this project when its budget is handed down in June, 2019.
“This is a great result for our region and I would like to thank Advance Cairns for their unwavering commitment and advocacy toward this much-needed project,” he said.
“This route is another ‘bucket item’ in our backyard and once the works are completed it will open up our region to a new tourism market, similar to what is already happening with the Peninsula Development Road in Cape York.”
Advance Cairns CEO Nick Trompf said the organisation had been advocating strongly for the sealing of the Queensland section of the Gulf Savannah Way for several years.
He said Advance Cairns also fully welcomed the $190 million announced today for the Peninsula Development Road – State Two Project.
“A fully-sealed Gulf Savannah Way will unlock economic growth across the top of Australia by allowing thousands of travellers’ safe passage and in faster time from Cairns to Broome,” Mr Trompf said.
“The existing road is flood prone and faces regular closure during the wet season, adversely impacting a range of industries.
“The federal government has long promoted a Northern Australia agenda and the Gulf Savannah Way – stretching 3700km from the east coast to the west coast of the nation – is a signature project in that sense.
“We will now be looking to the Queensland Government to step up with supporting funding to match the federal contribution.
“The intent is the road upgrade in north-west Queensland will be staged over a number of years to allow local contractors to complete the works, therefore maximising jobs and direct economic benefit to the region.”