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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 854

Ms LANDRY (CapricorniaDeputy Nationals Whip) (16:45): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) the Government has committed $700 million to improve roads in Northern Australia including $100 million through the Northern Australia Beef Roads Programme (BRP) to improve roads essential to cattle transportation and to help producers to transport cattle to market more safely and efficiently;

(b) upgrades under the BRP will be delivered to many areas including the:

   (i) City of Rockhampton (upgrading between Gracemere saleyards and the Rockhampton abattoirs to provide access for Type 1 Road Trains), as well as upgrades to the Hann Highway, Barkly Highway, Flinders Highway, Capricorn Highway and Clermont to Alpha Road in Queensland;

   (ii) Great Northern Highway and Marble Bar Road in Western Australia; and

   (iii) Outback Way, Arnhem Highway and Keep River Road in the Northern Territory; and

(c) under the BRP the Government recently committed to further upgrades including to the:

   (i) Peak Downs Highway (Clermont-Nebo, Logan Creek to Nine Mile Creek), Port Alma Access Road near Rockhampton, Bowen Developmental Road and Landsborough Highway (Longreach-Winton) in Queensland;

   (ii) Tablelands Highway, Barkly Stock Route and Buntine Highway in the Northern Territory; and

   (iii) Cape Leveque Road and Great Northern Highway in Western Australia; and

(2) commends the Government for recognising the potential of Northern Australia and investing in these key transport links.

We all know that in regional and remote Australia a good road network is vital for the safety of travellers and the efficiency of local industry to get goods and resources to market. A good road is something that city slickers and those aligned with city-based Labor MPs, the Greens, take for granted. Today, we specifically look at the vast network of roads in northern Australia. Northern Australia is one of the most important regional areas in terms of both future and current agriculture production. The official gateway and the official farm gate to northern Australia starts at the Tropic of Capricorn. Previously, Labor has all but ignored our regional road network.

The Turnbull-Joyce government, with a huge push by the National Party, is investing heavily to improve rural and regional roads that are important to industries such as the transportation of cattle. The Turnbull-Joyce government has committed $700 million to improving roads in northern Australia, including $100 million through the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program. This is essential to help producers to transport cattle to market more safely and efficiently. Upgrades under the first round of the beef roads program will be delivered to many areas across Northern Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

In my electorate of Capricornia I am pleased to inform the House that $20 million will be spent on a new type 1 road train route from Central Queensland's Gracemere Saleyards to two abattoirs in Rockhampton city. This city is Australia's beef capital. I am sure all here will agree with that. Most significantly, upgrading this transport corridor will allow type 1 road trains into the city without the need to uncouple. Previously, these cattle trucks had to leave one of their trailers full of cattle at Gracemere and return for it, doubling fuel and transport costs and leaving cattle in the sun.

The second major work in Capricornia under the beef roads program will see $6.97 million spent to help gradually bitumen another three sections of the Clermont Alpha Road. This area has been crying out for funding for some time. This is a start, and I will be fighting for more funding for future stages of this road.

Other beef road upgrades in Queensland include the Hahn Highway, the Barky Highway, the Flinders Highway and the Capricorn Highway. In Western Australia, beef road upgrades are occurring on the Great Northern Highway and Marble Bar Road. In the Northern Territory, beef road upgrades will be underway on the Outback Way, the Arnhem Highway and Keep River Road.

Coinciding with the beef roads program, we also have a special Northern Australia Roads Program to enhance the future development of our North. Under this program, the Turnbull-Joyce government recently committed to further upgrades, including the Peak Downs Highway at Logan Creek to Nine Mile Creek between Clermont and Nebo, in my electorate of Capricornia; upgrades to the Port Alma port access road near Rockhampton, in Capricornia; the Bowen Developmental Road, near Capricornia; and the Landsborough Highway from Longreach to Winton, in Queensland. Under this program, in the Northern Territory, work will be done on the Tablelands Highway, the Barkly Stock Route and the Buntine Highway and, in Western Australia, on the Cape Leveque road and the Great Northern Highway. Today I also commend the Turnbull-Joyce government for recognising the potential of northern Australia and investing in these key transport links.

The National Party plays a key role in standing up for regional Australia and ensuring that industries get the resources required to get on with the job of producing meat and foods that benefit our national GDP. That is the difference between us and the Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition has no plan for northern Australia; the Leader of the Opposition has no interest in expanding industry and jobs in northern Australia; and the Leader of the Opposition wanted to move $1 billion from the northern Australia fund, leaving it high and dry.

On the subject of roads, I am pleased to update the House on three other key road projects which have received funding from the federal Liberal-National coalition. In the Capricorn Coast area, works are now complete on upgrading a notoriously dangerous intersection at Hidden Valley Road and the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road, making the journey safer for motorists.

An honourable member interjecting

Ms LANDRY: I already talked about that. The $958,000 upgrade was fully funded through our coalition government's road Black Spot Program, one of the many initiatives in place to improve road safety and reduce road trauma. The intersection was a longstanding issue in the Capricorn Coast community. The upgrade was undertaken in two stages. The first stage involved extending Hoskyn Drive to Hidden Valley Road. The second stage involved the recent upgrade of the notoriously dangerous Hidden Valley Road turnoff onto Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road. The work is expected to reduce the number of collisions at this intersection.

Meanwhile, I am pleased to report to the House that work to repair Pilbeam Drive up to Mount Archer and the city of Rockhampton has been completed. Pilbeam Drive partially collapsed under rockfalls following Cyclone Marcia in 2015. The two-year repair work was undertaken thanks to joint federal and state NDRRA, natural disaster assistance. Mount Archer is an important asset to our region, and it was important to restore access to the summit by repairing the damage to Pilbeam Drive. In addition to the road repairs, I am pleased that the federal government is also contributing $1.5 million towards the first stage of a walking track up Mount Archer and is providing funding for further developments for mountain biking.

In a third update, I am pleased to advise the House that upgrades to the Gregory Highway between Emerald and Clermont are well underway in the electorates of Capricornia and Flynn. This $25.5 million project is delivering a series of new intersections, lane widening and overtaking lanes. It has been funded through round 4 of the coalition's Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. These upgrades will allow type 2 road trains to use this road safely and efficiently. They will also ensure that the needs of the agribusiness, mining and construction industries are met so we can get goods to market in a competitive manner. I am advised that an average of 50 direct jobs will also be supported over the construction phase of this project. This is evidence that the National Party continue to ensure that our government supports investment in regional Australia.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): Thank you, but I do note that I was very concerned earlier, though, about the 'beef capital of Australia'! I ask the member for Maranoa to second the motion.

Mr Littleproud: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.