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Queensland projects in funding share dispute

State and federal governments argue over funding split for two infrastructure projects

While both the Queensland government and the federal government have welcomed the inclusion of M1 upgrades in Infrastructure Australia (IA’s) national priority list, the two are unable to see eye to eye in the matter of funding split.

While the state government expects the federal government to bear a majority of the costs owing to the national significance of the two projects, the Turnbull Government states the funding was agreed to be split on a 50:50 basis.

“The M1 is the highest trafficked road in Queensland and it should be funded on the appropriate 80-20 funding split, just like it is just across the border in New South Wales,” Queensland roads minister Mark Bailey says.

“We have our 20 per cent on the table for both projects and are ready to get these projects moving and put shovels in the ground.

“I am calling on Malcolm Turnbull to step in, to stop treating Queensland like a second class state and to fund these upgrades fairly using his government’s own 80-20 funding formula.

“The Palaszczuk Government stands ready to provide its fair share – under the federal government’s funding agreement – for these priority infrastructure projects.”

However, urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher says the Queensland roads minister has erred in suggesting that IA’s assessment “was predicated on the basis of a particular state-federal funding split”.

“As minister responsible for Infrastructure Australia, it is important that I make it clear that Minister Bailey’s claim is incorrect,” Fletcher says.

The federal government has confirmed its decision to commit $105 million to the M1 project, as well as $110 to widen the M1 between Mudgeeraba and Varsity Lakes.

The two Queensland projects are part of the IA’s updated Infrastructure Priority List that identifies nationally significant projects and initiatives in every state and territory.

The list includes four new projects:

  • Bruce Highway Upgrade (Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway, Queensland
  • M1 Pacific Motorway-Gateway Motorway Merge Upgrade (southbound lanes), Queensland
  • Eyre Infrastructure Project (Iron Road), South Australia
  • North-South Corridor (Darlington Upgrade Project), South Australia.

Chief executive Philip Davies says upgrading the Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway section of the Bruce Highway will ease congestion and improve road safety in a section of the Highway that is vital in connecting regional centres and enabling significant freight movement within and between regions.

The Gateway Motorway Merge upgrade project is expected to provide additional capacity for the Pacific Motorway between Tugun and Brisbane – one of the busiest road corridors in southeast Queensland that sees an average of 78,500 vehicles travelling southbound per day.

Davies says the Eyre Infrastructure Project has been added to the list as a priority project as it addresses the need for additional high-capacity port and rail infrastructure on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula to enable mineral resources exports. 

“The Board also positively assessed the South Australian government’s proposal to upgrade a 3.3 kilometre section of Adelaide’s North-South Corridor between South Road and the Southern Expressway, as part of a broader $2.5 billion upgrade between Gawler and Noarlunga,” Davies says.

The priority list is based on Infrastructure Australia Board’s assessment of business cases from project proponents to help the government and the industry better align project proposals with infrastructure needs.

“Assessing a project for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List follows a rigorous process,” Davies says.

“This enables us to give decision makers the information they need to invest in the best infrastructure projects for our growing communities.

“Our assessment process involves interrogating the individual costs and benefits of a proposed project to determine whether it has the potential to meet an identified infrastructure need.

“We also assess the project’s strategic fit, deliverability and economic, social and environmental impacts.

“Adding these projects to our Infrastructure Priority List as Priority Projects demonstrates that each of the projects are sound investments that address an issue of national significance.”

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