The Australian Government has unlocked federal funding to the tune of $38 million toward the $47.5 million Cape York Community Access Roads project, which will improve access to remote Indigenous communities while supporting freight transport, agriculture and tourism.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the funding from the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) program would deliver 13 packages of work that will pave and seal five different community access roads totalling around 72 kilometres, as well as delivering signage and line-marking works.
“Getting cracking on federal funding approvals means our $38 million commitment is ready to flow and deliver boots on the ground,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Australian Government understands the importance of reducing wet-season closures on the Peninsula Development Road – the main arterial connection linking Cape York communities to the rest of Australia – which is why we are delivering this funding as part of our $190 million commitment to the Roads of Strategic Importance corridor upgrade between Cooktown and Weipa.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the works would build on the recently completed $276 million Cape York Region Package.
“As part of the Cape York Region Package, we delivered over 170 kilometres of road upgrades and sealing,” Mr Entsch said.
“Roads to be upgraded under the Cape York Community Access Roads project works include Jardine Ferry Rd, Portland Rd, Lockhart River Rd, Aurukun Rd and Pormpuraaw Rd.
“I am delighted to see that continue through the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative, improving access to Cape York for the local community, while delivering flow-on benefits to local industry, including mining.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said ongoing investment on the Peninsula Development Road formed part of a record $25.7 billion jointly-funded program being delivered by the Queensland Government to build better roads and transport, and create jobs as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.
“The PDR is vital to supporting freight transport, agriculture and tourism in the region and to Queensland’s economic recovery plan. Addressing remaining unsealed sections of road will create more than 150 jobs and means we avoid the extended closures that can cut off remote communities for much of the wet season,” Mr Bailey said.
“We have worked closely with relevant local councils to identify the highest-priority sections for upgrade using the funding available, so I am confident this commitment will deliver maximum benefits for Cape communities and creating hundreds of jobs in the process as we continue to tackle COVID-19.”
State Cook MP Cynthia Lui said investment on roads through the earlier Cape York Region Package had seen more than 321 Indigenous people employed, with more than $42 million of work completed by Indigenous businesses, and that this new injection of funding would see the community benefit for years to come.
“Better roads get families home safer, unlocks new opportunities in tourism for our communities, and stimulate jobs – which is why we’ve also injected another $1 billion in joint stimulus funding since April to upgrade roads right across the region and the state,” Ms Lui said.
The Australian Government has committed $38 million and the Queensland Government $9.5 million toward the $47.5 million Cape York Community Access Roads project.
The works are part of the $237.5 million Roads of Strategic Importance – Cooktown to Weipa Corridor Upgrade, to which the Australian Government has committed $190 million and the Queensland Government $47.5 million.
More information on the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative is available at https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/key_projects/initiatives/roads_strategic_importance.aspx.