LIVINGSTONE Mayor Bill Ludwig is looking to deliver on Stanage Bay Rd by accessing funds through a new federal government initiative.
Livingstone Shire Council will put forward the upgrading and sealing of Stanage Bay Road as a major regional infrastructure funding priority under the Federal Government's Our North, Our Future Northern Australia program.
The Federal Government has committed almost $5 billion in transport infrastructure to the Northern Australia economic development zone which includes Livingstone Shire and Central Queensland areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
Cr Ludwig said sealing and upgrading Stanage Bay Rd to state and national standards had long been identified as a strategic priority for Australia's defence training and the region's export beef production.
"These critical upgrades have been the subject of priority funding submissions to the Federal Government for more than a decade," he said.
"Hopefully with the Federal Government's Our North, Our Future white paper, there will finally be a commitment for long-overdue Stanage Bay Rd upgrades to go ahead.
"From an international defence training perspective the Shoalwater Bay Army Training Area is one of the best strategic military training facilities anywhere in the world. The current Talisman Sabre exercises alone inject an estimated $10m to $15m into the regional economy."
Cr Ludwig said when you factored in annual beef production with farm gate value of more than $6.5m, primarily through exports to Japan, South Korea, USA and the European Union, and over $1.2m of seafood industry production, there was certainly a "compelling case for the upgrades to get the green-light".
He also said upgrading the road would also open further tourism opportunities for the region with the growing popularity of Stanage Township and Shoalwater Bay islands as an eco-tourism and fishing destination.
"The case for funding is further reinforced by the fact that over the past 40 years, the council has lost around 23% of its rate revenue from shire land since the establishment of the Shoalwater training area; or an estimated loss of $1 million annually."
- Stanage Bay Road is about 100km long
- The council is seeking stage one funding of $17m to upgrade, widen and seal 42.2km of the road (Bruce Hwy to the Stevens Road Army access gate) to national B-double transport standards
- The council tabled a joint submission with Capricorn Enterprise to the Department of Defence and Department of Regional Services in July 2014 requesting funding to complete the upgrades
- Upgrading and sealing Stanage Bay Road would reduce annual maintenance costs from $4697 per km (gravel road) to $3563 per km (bitumen road)
- The Shoalwater Bay Training Area occupies approximately 23% of Livingstone Shire and costs the community an estimated $1m in lost rates revenue