Road train access to Rockhampton and the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange at Gracemere will be improved under a $30 million funding agreement between the Queensland and Federal Governments.
Visiting Rockhampton earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the Australian Government had committed $20 million from the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program towards a $30 million project to support Road Train Access to the Rockhampton area road network.
The remaining $10 million has been commited by the Queensland Government.
The project will upgrade the capacity of the major supply route between Gracemere saleyards and the Rockhampton abattoirs, giving Type 1 road trains access to 29 kilometres of road across the Capricorn Highway, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road and the Rockhampton-Emu Park Road, Mr McCormack said.
In a joint State and Commonwealth statement Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the project would be funded under the $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Program.
“Not only will this project reduce costs in the beef supply chain, more importantly it will improve safety by removing the need to decouple trucks at Gracemere. Three years ago Bryson Mayne tragically lost his life decoupling trucks at Gracemere. Once these upgrades occur those risks won’t need to be taken again,” Senator Canavan said.
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the Queensland Government had contributed $10 million towards Stage 1 of the project, to deliver a range of improvements to the cattle supply chain.
“That funding supported intersection upgrades at Queen Elizabeth Drive/Lakes Creek Road and Moores Creek Road/Yaamba Road in north Rockhampton, which were completed in 2017,” Mr Bailey said.
“The project will also improve safety by widening and improving the surface of Lakes Creek Road and St Christophers Chapel Road and well as replacing Frenchman’s Creek Bridge.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the project would improve the reliability and efficiency of cattle movements from Central Queensland to the Rockhampton abattoirs, including reduced need for cross-loading.
“This is really big news for local businesses and it’s all happening in large part thanks to our joint commitment to improving cattle supply chains,” Mr O’Dowd said.
Federal Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said she was pleased to have seen the project proceed so quickly.
“This is a great project of real common sense; we had a problem with cross-loading at Gracemere, so we’ve implemented a solution,” Ms Landry said.
“The fact we could get the necessary works on the go in a timely manner is a credit to both levels of government working together for an outcome. That outcome is greater safety for our truckies and a more efficient flow of livestock.”
State Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the Road Train Access project would remove the requirement for road trains travelling between the Gracemere saleyards and Rockhampton abattoirs to decouple before entering Rockhampton from the Capricorn Highway.
“This will result in significant time and therefore cost savings for freight operators and the cattle industry and also improve safety,” Mr O’Rourke said.
State Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said she looked forward to seeing the full benefits of the upgrades being realised.
“The project is already delivering benefits with upgrades to a number of intersections already complete and with the remaining works expected to commence construction in early 2019,” Ms Lauga said.
Access for Type 1 road trains to Rockhampton’s area road network is under strict permitting conditions administered by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator issues permits to operators restricting operating hours to between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week.
Source: Queensland and Australian Governments