The Queensland Beef Corridors group of councils advocating for road upgrades in the region have welcomed the infrastructure funding announcement but stressed ongoing collaboration was needed to turn the 6-year $400 million investment plan into reality.
Barcaldine Regional, Isaac Regional, Central Highlands Regional, Gladstone Regional, Woorabinda Shire, Banana Shire and the recently added Rockhampton Regional Council are united in their pledge to bring their road network to a standard that supports the region’s major industries.
The group’s spokesperson Central Highlands’ Mayor Kerry Hayes welcomed the funding announcement and said governments had heard the group’s pledge.
‘It is evident that State and Federal governments are recognising the significance of Queensland’s freight routes with their funding announcement and further investments in the Inland Freight Route and Capricorn Highway upgrades west of Emerald,’ Mayor Hayes said.
Mayor Hayes said the group now looked forward to working with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and the post-election federal government on an innovative and collaborative approach to planning and delivery of the program in the region.
‘It is crucial that our producers have certainty that 1,200 kilometres of Queensland Beef Corridor feeder roads are included in strategic and planned investments,’ he said.
‘Producers and supply chain businesses need to know that these roads are robust and resilient to be able to plan for sustainability and growth, irrespective of election outcomes.’
The Queensland Beef Corridors identified nine sections or 457 kilometres of unsealed feeder roads as a priority for sealing to achieve all-weather access, as well as filling gaps in the network for road train access to processing facilities and the Gladstone Port.
Mayor Hayes said the road network connected a growing and innovative industry with the world.
‘Our region is home to 25 per cent of Australia’s cattle herd, it contributes $1.7 billion to our national economy each year,’ he said.
‘These roads are supply chains for more than 2,000 beef businesses reaching three processing plants and nine saleyards and two major ports in the region alone.
‘We have recently been reminded that disruption to supply chains is never far away in Queensland – these roads must be resilient and robust.’
Mayor Hayes added a growing beef industry also meant a prosperous future for the regions.
‘While our banner proudly proclaims beef, the people behind it understand its broader value to our local communities and its continuing contribution to the state and national economies,’ he said.
‘It’s why we have been advocating for better and more strategic investment into these state roads and road infrastructure.’
The group launched the Queensland Beef Corridors campaign during Rockhampton’s Beef Australia event in May 2021.
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QBC members Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes, Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Tony Williams and Deputy Mayor Neil Fisher, Senator Matt Canavan, LNP Federal Candidate for Flynn Colin Boyce and Hon Michelle Landry MP for Capricornia with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce announcing Queensland Beef Funding at the Gracemere Saleyards on Wednesday 26 April 2022.