Qld Budget dedicates $3.6bn to road network

Queensland Budget allocates $3.6 billion to road and marine infrastructure, with a large chunk of funding going to flood-damaged routes

June 15, 2011

The Queensland Budget will allocate $3.6 billion to road and marine infrastructure next year, with a large chunk of the funds going to flood-damaged routes.

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace says the budget, handed down yesterday, will invest $1.4 billion in repairing areas devastated by flooding late last year and early this year.

Another $1.27 billion will go toward the highway network to upgrade sections of the Bruce, Warrego and Landsborough highways. Money will also be spent upgrading the Ipswich and Pacific motorways.

"Queensland's road network received more damage than any other state government asset during this year's natural disasters, with some roads damaged more than two or three times in recent years - the devastation is without parallel," Wallace says.

He says about 76 percent of the state-controlled network damaged by the floods has been repaired, with legal speed and weight limits reinstated.

The $1.4 billion investment is only a third of the funds to be invested in reconstruction works, with Wallace saying the government will spend $4.2 billion over the next two to three years.

He says reconstruction works will improve the safety and strength of damaged roads.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says the natural disasters wiped out $6 billion in gross state product and sent the state’s overseas export trade backwards since records were first kept.

However, Fraser says the economy is forecast to grow 5 percent next year and 5.25 percent in 2012-13.

"The floods and cyclones and the devastating earthquakes in our largest trading partner of Japan, combined with a strong Aussie dollar, have crunched our exports and severely constrained the broader economy," he says.

Fraser says business investment is tipped to grow 27.75 percent next year, coupled with a rise in employment of 3 percent.

Labelling the forecast in business investment "a vote of confidence in our economy", Fraser says it will fuel strong jobs growth and strengthen the budget’s bottom line.

Queensland’s deficit will peak at just over $4 billion next financial year.

"This year, Queensland’s debt is more than $17 billion less than it was forecast to be two years ago," Fraser says.

He says the government is on track to deliver a surplus in four years’ time.

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