The Coalition Government will commit $11 million to undertake a preliminary evaluation and business case on upgrading the Kuranda Range Road to address critical long-term safety and capacity issues.
The scope of this work will also include an assessment of possible alternative routes.
Progression of the business case is contingent on the Queensland Government matching our funding commitment.
Regular road closures related to weather events and accidents have significant impacts on the reliability and result in significant delays to motorists.
A recent Queensland Government report stated that that the average annual frequency of closure for the Kuranda Range Road was 44 closures with an average duration of 6.6 hours.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the Kuranda Range Road is a critical link for commuter, commercial and visitor traffic in Tropical North Queensland and it was important to explore options to improve the road.
“The Kuranda Range Road is a vital strategic corridor linking the Atherton Tableland, North Tropical Coast and Cape York to the Cairns Airport and seaports,” Mr Joyce said.
“This road underpins the commercial viability of primary industries, producers and exporters in the region in providing access to markets through the Cairns air and seaports, and road links to southern markets.
“The Coalition Government supports strategic infrastructure that will create a better future for Australia, thanks to our strong economic management and our track record.”
LNP Queensland Senator and Special Envoy for Northern Australia Susan McDonald said the announcement was another example of the Morrison-Joyce Government’s commitment to acting on ways to grow the North.
“With more water storage, incentives for agriculture and mining, the $10 billion reinsurance pool and better roads, this is a government taking the initiative in our northern regions to encourage business prosperity, tourism and improving the area’s overall liveability,” Senator McDonald said.
“We’ve listened to the concerns of councils, tour operators and transport companies and acted upon them.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the community is demanding a solution to the issues regarding the Kuranda Range and this is the first step towards identifying viable long term solutions.
“This can can’t be kicked down the road any longer,” Mr Entsch said.
“Let’s get the business case done, identify the options and long-term solutions, get them costed and get on with the job of delivering.”
LNP candidate for Kennedy Bryce MacDonald said he was pleased to be part of an LNP team in Far North Queensland that was providing the leadership and resources to find a solution to the long running Kuranda Range Road problem.
“Along with Warren Entsch and North Queensland-based LNP Senator Susan McDonald, I’m proud to be part of the LNP team that is getting on with the job and providing a way forward to address this issue,” Mr Macdonald said.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has failed dismally to demonstrate any leadership when it comes to the Kuranda Range Road, so the Federal Coalition Government now has to step in to progress a solution for Far North Queenslanders.
“We need this merit-based evaluation and business case process to happen now, because the ‘glossy brochure’ released earlier this year by the Palaszczuk Labor Government, which proposed to do nothing for 30 years, was a disgrace.”
Since 2013-14, the Coalition Government has committed $35.9 billion towards infrastructure projects in Queensland. $3.9 billion committed to Queensland projects in the 2022-23 Budget is expected to support more than 11,000 jobs over the life of the projects.
The Coalition Government is contributing $28 million for the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) stations on the Kuranda Range Road.
The ITS stations will complement the existing variable message signs and reduce the number and duration of road closures.
The ITS treatments will also enable Transport and Main Roads to rapidly detect and manage incidents on Kuranda Range Road.
Only the Coalition has a plan for a strong economy and stronger future for Queenslanders.