There no beef over CQ roads upgrades

Work will begin this financial year on four key upgrades to CQ roads linked to the $500 million Queensland Beef Corridors project. Photo: AAP.

The Federal Labor Government has confirmed it backed Premier Steven Miles in bringing forward the $500 million Queensland Beef Corridors project by three years.

With work now to begin progressively on priority roads across Central Queensland in 2024-25, the move put three Federal LNP members on the back foot with Senator Matt Canavan, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Flynn MP Colin Boyce accusing the Labor-led governments of playing a game of smoke and mirrors after a Senate Estimates hearing revealed the original start date for works was slated for 2027-28.

Clearing up the confusion, a spokesperson for Federal Transport Minister Catherine King said the State Government bringing forward an early package of works for the project had been approved before it was announced on Wednesday 13 March.

“We usually set the funding when we think it is going to be spent but our funding gets rolled out on milestones, so when there’s an agreed set of milestones… once a milestone is reached we pay out a certain amount of money,” the spokesperson added.

Central HIghlands Mayor Kerry Hayes heard the news while presiding over a council meeting.

“The State Government has confirmed the funding for the Beef Corridor… obviously that bit of pressure that we mentioned last meeting that realises that the investment in our beef industry is very important and certainly the date they’ve suggested there, 2024-25 is pretty welcome because that means things will actually get to start,” Cr Hayes said.

“There will be some very, very happy people in Bauhinia today and certainly May Downs.”

Barcaldine Mayor Sean Dillon also welcomed the revised timetable for the beef corridor.

“We have been really grateful for all the work the State Government has put into supporting the project right from its infancy, and this announcement only underlines the strong working relationship that the State and the Beef Corridors Working Group have managed to develop,” Cr DIllon said.

“We’re keen to see these initiatives progress and full development of the 10-year plan.

“During Covid, Barcaldine Regional Council revved up its capacity to deliver State Government road contracts and we stand ready to deliver on these projects as they come forward under the beef corridors proposal.”

The State Government has committed its $100m under the funding agreement to lead the early works package that will prioritise four project:

* The pave and seal of sections along the Alpha-Tambo Road in the Mackay-Whitsunday and Central West districts,

* The pave and seal and widening of floodway along the Alpha-Tambo Rd,

* The pave and seal of sections of the Fitzroy Developmental Rd between Bauhinia and Duaringa,

* The pave and seal of sections of May Downs Rd in the Mackay-Whitsunday district.

State Transport Minister Bart Mellish said his department would engage with the seven local governments driving the beef corridors project and key industry stakeholder to develop a 10-year strategy to prioritise beef road upgrades where they were needed most.

“A program of early works has been developed to kickstart the initiative, while the 10-year investment strategy is completed,” Mr Mellish said.

“Future projects will be confirmed through the annual release of the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program which outlines current and planned investment in road and transport infrastructure for delivery over the following four-year program.”

Mr Boyce said it was a disgrace that State and Federal Labor “could not even agree” on a start date for the critical road network.

“Premier Miles and Prime Minister Albanese need to jump into a car and see firsthand how bad these roads are and stop making decisions that are affecting the lives of our regional communities from their desks in Brisbane or Canberra,” he said.

“The beef corridors upgrade is about improving road safety for all road users while enhancing productivity through reducing or eliminating impediments on delivery.”

Mr Boyce said the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program had not been updated to reflect the updated delay in funds from the Federal Government that was revealed at the Senate Estimates in February.