Stanage Bay Rd priority on Livingstone council's agenda
LIVINGSTONE Shire Council will put forward the upgrading and sealing of Stanage Bay Road as a major regional infrastructure funding priority in the Federal Government's Our North, Our Future Northern Australia White Paper.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said the Federal Government has committed almost $5 billion in transport infrastructure to the Northern Australia economic development zone which includes Livingstone Shire and areas of Central Queensland north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
"Sealing and upgrading Stanage Bay Road to state and national standards has long been identified as a strategic priority for Australia's defence training and the region's export beef production," Cr Ludwig said.
"These critical upgrades have been the subject of priority funding submissions to the Federal Government for more than a decade.
"Hopefully with the Federal Government's 'Our North, Our Future: A vision for developing Northern Australia' there will finally be a commitment to the long-overdue Stanage Bay Road upgrades to go ahead.
"From an international defence training perspective, the Shoalwater Bay Army Training Area (SWBTA) 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.
"When you factor in annual beef production with a farm gate value of more than $6.5 million - primarily through exports to Japan, South Korea, USA and the European Union - and a seafood industry worth more than $1.2 million, there is certainly a compelling case for the upgrades to get the 'green-light'."
Cr Ludwig said upgrading the road will also open further tourism opportunities for the region with the growing popularity of the Stanage Bay 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 last 40 years, Livingstone Shire Council has lost around 23% of its rate revenue from Shire land since the establishment of the SWBTA; or an estimated loss of $1 million annually."