Qld Treasurer's say on state funding to back Rocky's Ring Rd
ROCKHAMPTON'S $1billion ring road was all over bar the fat lady's song yesterday, and in this case, the fat lady was a $200 million dollar commitment from the state government.
Late yesterday, Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad indicated the state government would be prepared to deliver the funds after Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke was reluctant to commit yesterday morning, despite being asked a number of times.
"We are already working on the job," he said.
"The state government has started resumption of land and duplication of highway from Yeppoon Rd out through Gracemere."
Mr O'Rourke left no doubt about his support for the project and said it was essential to get on with the job.
But rather than talk about the state government's contribution, he was keen to put the focus back onto the federal government's time frame.
"The Prime Minister should understand that where you're working on multi-million-dollar projects you need a timeframe to work with," he said.
"This is ridiculous to come out and say here's the $800 million, but not putting it down.
"Is it this term, next term, the term after?
"We need to have the federal government announce when their dollars will be available.
"Can he guarantee it that if he is not re-elected next time around, are the dollars still available?"
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday confirmed the money was in the budget and available now, regardless of who wins the next election.
"The only way that this road cannot be built is if any other government were to reverse that in the future," he said.
"The money is in the budget.
"It's in the medium term provisions and in the budget in the forward estimates, so this money is locked in.
"It's voted in, it's there, done."
Mr O'Rourke said the state government would be working to ensure the work does happen but said he was not in a position to comment on the funding commitment, adding that he had been on the phone to the treasurer, Jackie Trad, since the announcement was made 24 hours earlier.
"This has been a priority project for a number of years and will be prioritised accordingly," he said.
"I think it's very exciting for Central Queensland.
"I just want to see the jobs created and the benefits it will bring to this community.
"I want to see Rockhampton future proofed and resilient through floods."
Late yesterday afternoon Ms Trad said the project would boost economic activity in the region, create jobs in the short term and build an efficient bypass around the city to support freight for the long term.
"We expected today's announcement following the media leaks of the Morrison Government's election infrastructure commitments back in September, but we still haven't been told when the money will be available," she said.
"This federal LNP government has a habit of committing money to large projects in Queensland but not making it available for years.
"We saw them take that approach with the M1 funding, so it would be good to know when this $800 million for Rockhampton will be locked in.
"The Palaszczuk Government is already doing the early works to get ready for the ring road, based on our existing agreements with federal government.
"Whoever has the top job in Canberra, we're ready to work with them to deliver the ring road for Rocky."
Both levels of government have committed funds to the Rockhampton Northern Access upgrade and Capricorn Highway duplication.