We'll deliver on Townsville Ring Road, Gillard promises

PM Julia Gillard says her government will deliver the Townsville Ring Road project in Queensland

August 5, 2010

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says her government will deliver the congestion-busting Townsville Ring Road project in North Queensland.

As the August 21 election date draws closer, Gillard has promised to complete section four of the project which will link the Douglas Arterial to the Bruce Highway at Mt Low if she is elected.

Once complete, the project will take traffic off congested local roads and give trucks a more direct route to Townsville.

The Government has committed to covering $160 million or 80 percent of the cost, with the Queensland Government also funding the project.

Funding will be subjected to consultation with Infrastructure Australia, body established by the Federal Government to guide investment in nationally important infrastructure projects.

With traffic levels increasing in the booming region, Gillard says the number of vehicles a day will reach 64,000 by 2021 if Townsville Ring Road is not built.

The Labor candidate for Herbert, Tony Mooney, says the Townsville Ring Road project "is a long-awaited and much needed piece of infrastructure".

The Government has also reiterated its pledge to invest more than $2 billion from its $6 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund in Queensland.

Money in the fund will come from the 30 percent Minerals Resource Rent Tax to be introduced on July 1, 2012.

The tax will apply to iron ore and coal companies that reach a 12 percent profit threshold. The oil, gas and coal seam gas sectors will be dealt with under the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax and will be taxed at 40 percent for onshore and offshore projects once they reach the profit threshold.

The tax will also fund a 1 percent fall in company tax and a 3 percent increase to superannuation.

Because Opposition leader Tony Abbott has vowed to oppose the tax, Gillard claims North Queensland will be denied infrastructure investment.

Upon announcing the tax earlier this year, the Government pledged to devote money in the fund to resource rich states Queensland and Western Australia.

The tax is designed to ensure Australia receives an equitable return from its resources.

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