Cross River Rail tops Queensland's infrastructure priority list

BRISBANE'S Cross River Rail project remains at the top of the Queensland Government's list of infrastructure projects submitted to Infrastructure Australia for consideration this month, which also includes the North Brisbane Cycleway and key road upgrades serving the resource rich Surat Basin area for the first time.

Local Government Minister Paul Lucas said the status of the Cross River Rail project, a proposed 18 kilometre north-south rail line in Brisbane's inner city, has been upgraded from "threshold" to "ready to proceed" in the government's submission.

"We're now confident this project, which is expected to support 5900 construction jobs during construction, ticks all the boxes Infrastructure Australia needs it to," Mr Lucas said.

Mr Lucas added that the Australian Government has "already recognised the national significance of Cross River Rail by investing $20 million in the planning and feasibility assessment stage."

The second priority on the list submitted to Infrastructure Australia is a number of projects that form part of the draft Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy (BHUS) Brisbane to Cairns that aims to improve efficiency, safety, reliability and flood immunity.

The three projects are the $790 million Cooroy to Curra Section A upgrade; $600 million Yeppen Floodplain at Rockhampton upgrade; and the staged construction of the Mackay Ring Road.

Third in the list of priority projects for Queensland is the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, a proposed 42 kilometre bypass road around Toowoomba.

The project aims to improve freight movement and road safety, as well as enable Toowoomba to continue to act as a hub for the Darling Downs and gateway to the developing energy sector in the Surat Basin

Brisbane's Eastern Busway project, a 20 kilometre busway from the University of Queensland to Capalaba that aims to provide high quality and high frequency public transport services in Brisbane's eastern suburbs, is the fourth priority project on the list.

While the first two sections of the project have been completed (University of Queensland, St Lucia – Buranda and Buranda – Coorparoo), the remaining stages from Coorparoo to Capalaba are dependent on funding and have not been confirmed.

Queensland's submission is seeking federal funding for the next stage of the busway between Main Avenue, Coorparoo and Bennetts Road, Coorparoo.

The submission also proposes the inclusion of two new projects on the National Infrastructure Priority list: Warrego Highway Upgrade Program (Helidon to Morven); and the North Brisbane Cycleway.

Mr Lucas said that with the coal seam gas and liquefied natural gas industry being largely driven by areas like the Surat Basin, it was important appropriate infrastructure was in place to support the industry's growth.

"That's why we've included the three stage upgrade of the Warrego Highway between Helidon at the base of the Toowoomba Range and Morven near Charleville," said Mr Lucas.

"This upgrade of the Warrego represents a $1 billion investment in what will be a very important 549km of road linking the resource rich parts of Western Queensland to the coast."

Mr Lucas said the Queensland Government has already committed $134 million towards five priority projects in the program.

"However, as funding of a national highway is clearly a federal responsibility, we're asking the Commonwealth to help out with the remaining projects."

The proposed North Brisbane Cycleway is for an eight kilometre section of dedicated bikeway infrastructure from the Royal Brisbane Hospital in Herston to Kedron.

The submission also includes updated project information for: Gateway Motorway Upgrade North; and Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Corridor (including Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor). It also supports the Port of Abbot Point Multi-Cargo Facility and the Gold Coast Heavy Rail Capacity Upgrade and Extension projects remaining on the Priority List.

Finally, the Queensland Government said it will work on other projects that will be submitted through separate processes or in future years, including freight connections to State Development Areas; infrastructure to support Indigenous Communities and the Pacific Motorway, Brisbane to New South Wales border.

More information is available from the Department of Local Government and Planning website at <http://www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/delivering-infrastructure/infrastructure-australia-and-national-infrastructure-priorities.html>.

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