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$2.1 billion plan to bust North Brisbane congestion

$2.1 billion plan to bust North Brisbane congestion

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled a $2.1 billion congestion-busting road plan for Moreton Bay and North Brisbane commuters.

The job boosting plan backs a new arterial road, informally dubbed the ‘Moreton Connector’, to be built between Dohles Rocks Road at Murrumba Downs and Anzac Avenue at Mango Hill.

It would also deliver upgrades to the Gateway Motorway, Gympie Road and the Bruce Highway, including new north facing ramps at Dohles Rocks Road.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the multi-billion dollar transformation of Brisbane’s northern road network would build on Queensland’s record $23 billion roads and transport investment over the next four years.

“The Federal Government is eager to look at what jobs we can create and what projects we have across Queensland,” the Premier said.

“This proposal is exactly the kind of key congestion busting road infrastructure they are looking for and is ready to go to the Federal Government.

“If we can work with the Federal Government to get this approved, this of course means hundreds of jobs and better commuting for people travelling on the northside of Brisbane.”

Deputy Premier and Member for Murrumba Steven Miles said the Moreton Connector will mean more Queenslanders can spend less time in traffic and more time with their family and loved ones.

“The Moreton Connector will reduce travel time for Queenslanders living on the northside of Brisbane,” the Deputy Premier said.

“It will also allow Griffin residents easy access to North Lakes and bring a number of jobs to the local economy, which we know is very important at this time.

“We are keen to work with the Federal Government for the people of Queensland.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said both levels of government had locked funding into future budgets for the northside upgrades.

“The Gateway Motorway, Bruce Highway and Gympie Road in this part of Brisbane’s outer northern suburbs collectively carry about 310,000 vehicles a day,” Mr Bailey said.

“That’s 100,000 more vehicles a day than on the busiest section of the M1, so it’s clear a plan is needed for new roads and major upgrades there.

“This is the plan that will deliver those upgrades.

“It will transform Brisbane’s northern gateway by re-designing the Gateway Motorway, Bruce Highway and Gympie Road interchange and build a new arterial road to take traffic off the Bruce Highway between Murrumba Downs and Mango Hill.”

Mr Bailey said both levels of government were committed to major road upgrades north of Brisbane and would work with Moreton Bay Regional Council to deliver the proposed new road.

“Funding that could deliver this plan is locked in future state and federal budgets,” Mr Bailey said.

“There is also a further $150 million in joint funding already committed to upgrade the Linkfield Road overpass and the Strathpine Road interchange, with works there due to start in coming months.

“We have the blueprint to deliver significant improvements to major roads right across the northern reaches of Brisbane.

“The next step is for us to get all three levels of government together so we can get work started as soon as possible.”




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Councils rejoice over $1.8 billion cash splash

Councils rejoice over $1.8 billion cash splash

Queensland councils are the big winners out of the federal government’s $500 million roads and infrastructure stimulus program – the largest single injection of COVID relief funds for local government to date.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday that Australian councils will share half a billion dollars of federal funding through the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program.

Funding allocations take into consideration road length and population, as well as recommendations of the Local Government Grants Commission, and are calculated in a similar way to the Roads to Recovery program and the road component of the Financial Assistance Grants.

Australia’s biggest council by population, City of Brisbane, was allocated almost $12 million, while Gold Coast and Moreton Bay Councils were each allocated in access in of $5 million.

Toowoomba received $4 million and Logan City, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Western Downs are eligible for around $3.5 million.

All up, 12 Queensland councils will get more than $2 million of funding each, as will 13 Victorian councils and seven in NSW.

State by state, NSW takes home the lion’s share of funding with $139.3 million. Queensland and Victoria both netted more than $100 million in funding.

The roads and infrastructure boost is part of a $1.8 billion stimulus package which includes the bringing forward of $13 billion worth of Financial Assistance Grants.

“Our funding boost will help councils accelerate priority projects that will employ locally and support local business and also stimulating our economy,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

“We know this is going to be vital support, particularly for councils that have faced the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and now COVID-19.”

The peak body for local government in Australia, ALGA, described it as “tremendous news” for councils, staff and elected representatives.

Councils will need to submit applications for their allocated funding, which will be available from July 1.

State by state funding under the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program

  • NSW: $139.36m
  • Vic: $101.73m
  • Qld: $101.70m
  • WA: $73.51m
  • SA: $44.93m
  • Tas: $16.28m
  • NT: $14.54m
  • ACT: $7.97m
Relief for councils
The Municipal Association of Victoria said the funding was crucial to recover from COVID-19 and stimulate economies.
“Local economies have suffered from the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Summer bushfires. Councils, supported by Federal and State Governments, will play a pivotal role in driving local economic recovery,” President Coral Ross said.

LGAQ President Mark Jamieson said the funding was welcome relief for councils that had been wearing significant revenue losses as a result of coronavirus, while providing support and stimulus to residents and business.

“We thank the Federal Government for listening to Queensland councils and their counterparts across the country and delivering much-needed stimulus at this critical time,” Cr Jamieson said.

“Councils will continue to work with the federal government to ensure extra funding flows in future years so the economic sustainability of councils and their communities is maintained.”

First step to recovery

LGNSW said the cash injection was the first step on the road to a locally led recovery.

“This funding will help keep local economies from collapse by keeping the tens of thousands of people who make up our invaluable local government workforce in jobs,” president Linda Scott said.

Cr Scott welcomed the advance payment of the year’s second instalment of FAGS  but noted the grant amount had not been increased.

So while the cash flow would help keep councils liquid, it wouldn’t actually provide for any extra infrastructure, she said.

She said payment of an additional half-year instalment to councils, over and above Friday’s announcement, would provide an additional $400 million to NSW councils, and make a massive difference to the communities they represented.

WALGA said more than $70 million had been committed to the state and every West Australian local government would receive some funding.

Finally some help, says WA

WALGA President and ALGA Vice President Tracey Roberts said the state would see the injection of $73 million into local projects.

She said local government in WA had missed out on the financial support and support offered to other states.

“Consequently while the Federal funding package is a national initiative, it will be especially appreciated by WA Councils and their communities.”

LGAT President Christina Holmdahl said the announcement would lead to around $16 million for expenditure on local roads and community infrastructure in Tasmania and councils were  already working to identify suitable, ready projects that can be brought forward.

The bringing forward of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) payments would also provide benefit to councils that were are facing short term cash flow, she said.

The peak body for local government officers, Local Government Professionals Australia, welcomed the package, saying it would help councils deliver local jobs and local business.

“The stimulus will see priority local road and community infrastructure projects delivered through local governments creating new jobs and protecting businesses to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic,” chief executive Clare Sullivan said.

‘Welcome but modest’

Labor described the program as ‘welcome but modest”.

Councils still had to seek approval from the Commonwealth before funding for projects can be delivered, infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King and local government spokesman Jason Clare said in a joint statement.

“Additionally, the government must ensure that the money is distributed on a transparent and equitable basis, unlike some previous Coalition programs,” they said.

It comes after draft budgets and economic modelling showed that the double whammy of COVID-19 and bushfires was stretching councils to their limits.




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Gold Coast

Gold Coast construction to benefit from Qld govt coronavirus plan

Gold Coast construction to benefit from Qld govt coronavirus plan

The state government has unveiled it’s coronavirus recovery plan in parliament this morning, which focuses heavily on building the infrastructure we need for the future, and fast tracking construction projects.

It’s no doubt welcome news for construction companies on the Gold Coast, amidst new data from Urbis which shows our building sector has already recorded a $350 million drop in new project investments.

The Palaszczuk Government has this morning announced a ‘comprehensive and far-reaching suite of economic initiatives’ in partnership with the private sector.

The first stage, The Queensland Economic Recovery Strategy: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs, hopes to aid our coronavirus recovery by backing Queensland jobs.

The strategy includes:

  • A rock solid determination to maintain infrastructure investment at more than $50 billion over the next four years, despite the financial challenge of supporting Queensland through the pandemic;
  • A $400 million Accelerated Works Program to deliver new road, bridge and pavement sealing works across the state;
  • A further $200 million in 2020-21 for a Works for Queensland program to support jobs and fund productive building projects; and
  • An $11.25 million expansion of the Household Resilience Program in cyclone affected areas.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says it’s carefully implemented approach, which will hopefully ensure we continue to protect our health while backing Queensland jobs.

“The package of measures I am announcing today focuses on building the infrastructure we need for the future and accelerating construction projects to protect jobs now.

“We will also help local governments to deliver projects in their communities. These infrastructure commitments are statewide and will help regional Queensland,” the Premier said.

The state government will also contribute $10 million as a support package to for international students, and to help safeguard Queensland’s global education brand.

It’s also committed to additional support for small business, by making another $100 million available in support, including Small Business Adaption Grants of up to $10,000. That’s on top of the $1 billion of job supporting business loans already announced.

$20 million will be committed for free online training which includes training in safety and hygiene standards to keep COVID-19 contained.

A further $14.8 million will be committed to support project development of the CopperString 2.0 project that will connect the North West Minerals Province with the national electricity market; and $20 million will be put towards construction of a Queensland Apprenticeships Centre in renewable hydrogen at Beenleigh.

The Premier said the package of measures built on $6 billion in support already committed to manage the health response, support Queensland businesses and families and protect local jobs.

“In recent weeks we have been listening to business and industry and the clear message is that Government investment needs to be directed at investment that will grow and diversify our economy into the future.

“The announcements I am making today are a direct result of engagement with industry representatives including from small business, manufacturing, tourism, mining, agriculture, hospitality, construction, housing and property.

“On the road ahead, a close partnership between the public and private sectors is absolutely vital to success.

“So I will establish a Queensland Industry Recovery Panel to ensure ongoing direct engagement with industry peak bodies.

“This is an economic framework that will create jobs by focusing on what we are good at – and by making more products here in Queensland.

“Our number one priority is backing Queensland jobs and doing it in a way that ensures we protect the good work to date that has helped us keep people healthy during the COVID19

“Queenslanders have united, we have worked together to flatten the curve and save lives, and we can take pride in the effort to stare down this invisible foe.

“We will emerge stronger, because that is what we do,” the Premier said.

The state government has also committed $50 million to the tourism industry, which is tipped to significantly help the Gold Coast.



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$1.1bn Runway Signals New Start for Brisbane Airport

$1.1bn Runway Signals New Start for Brisbane Airport (1)

The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t hindered progress on Australia’s largest aviation construction project, with Brisbane Airport Corporation announcing the practical completion of its new
$1.1 billion runway.

A key part of Brisbane’s broad infrastructure pipeline, works on the 360-hectare site—more than twice the size of the city’s CBD—Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) and Skyway, a joint venture between BMD Constructions and CPB Contractors, commenced in 2012.

BAC chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said while the milestone marked the end of the project, it also signalled a new beginning for Brisbane Airport, post-Covid-19.

“In many respects this runway is symbolic of the very firm belief we have that aircraft will, in the not too distant future, return to the skies and our terminals will once again be full of happy people looking forward to visiting their families, their holidays or to travel to do business.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we have the infrastructure and mechanisms in place to allow our great city and state to recover from the Covid-19 global pandemic, and Brisbane Airport, and this new runway will play a strong part in that.”

“The last few months have been difficult for everyone in the aviation and travel industries, as well as the whole community, but we have never lost sight of the fact that this project has been built for the long term. It will serve us well for many decades to come,” de Graff said.

“Today is a culmination of eight years of physical construction, many years before that in planning, and foresight from nearly half a century ago for an airport with the growth capacity to meet the aspirations of the city and the state.”

De Graaff said thousands of people had worked on the project over decades and thanked them for their contribution to one of the most important construction projects in Queensland’s history.

“As we reach this historic milestone, I must commend the entire new runway team for putting their heart and souls into this project over the last 15 years.

“Every step of the way the BAC team has been supported by many partners, suppliers and contractors who have contributed—it truly is a project built by the community for the community,” de Graff said.

“This new runway is so much more than asphalt; it is an enabler for recovery and growth across all facets of business, with an estimated 7,800 new jobs created by 2035 and an additional $5 billion in annual economic benefit to the region.”

$1.1bn Runway Signals New Start for Brisbane Airport (3)

More than 3,740 people were employed over the life of the project, with a peak of 650 people on site in mid-2019.

Ninety per cent of the 324 different subcontractors engaged during the project were based in south-east Queensland, putting in approximately 3.3 million hours.

With practical completion now achieved, the operational readiness and testing program will continue ahead of the runway’s official launch on 12 July, despite the coronavirus-related cancellation of the community celebrations that had been planned prior to the outbreak of Covid-19.

BAC head of corporate communications Leonie Vandeven said the runway will open as planned to passenger and freight services, regardless of the drop in demand due to the pandemic.

“Every flight, every passenger, every piece of freight is critical revenue for primary producers, critical for jobs and critical for the economy.

“As Queensland’s main air freight gateway, Brisbane Airport remains committed to serving the community and the industry during this crisis keeping essential infrastructure open to support critical supply connections on key air freight trade lines,” Vandeven said.

$1.1bn Runway Signals New Start for Brisbane Airport (2)

With international passenger services almost completely absent from the skies, Vandeven said that air cargo capacity, which is mostly carried in the belly of passenger aircraft, had become “extremely scarce”.

“Virtually overnight, 90 per cent of established air supply chains collapsed cutting off key markets and leaving producers with few options.”

Qantas and Virgin Australia also continue to operate reduced domestic networks, in addition to international freight and repatriation flights, and this week the airport also welcomed flights from Malaysia, Malindo and Philippine Airlines—all carrying freight.

“The BAC team knew it was crucial we worked hard to support and maintain these lifelines so that people throughout Queensland and across the world could continue with their lives and livelihoods,” Vandeven said, adding that BAC was able to utilise its relationships with numerous airline partners in moving quickly to support and complement airlines working to access available freight opportunities.

“We were able to help to identify local exporters impacted by the crisis, and performing a ‘matchmaking’ role by facilitating suitable connections in the local supply chain.”

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the new runway had been set to effectively double Brisbane Airport’s capacity, bringing more visitors to the region and allowing Brisbane residents a greater choice in airlines and destinations.

It’s a very different story now, with international passenger numbers in April to date totalling just over 11,000, compared to more than 462,000 in April 2019.

Domestic passenger numbers have taken a similar hit, with April figures to date totalling nearly 61,000, compared to more than 1.312 million at the same time last April.

Still, Vandeven maintains a long-term view.

“We hope the runway’s opening will be a comforting reminder to the tourism industry and the whole community that things will get better and the future will be bright.

“We have considered all scenarios and our investment in the new runway is a vote of confidence in Queensland’s future and our confidence in that future is just as strong as ever.”




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