Eighteen major tourism and culturally significant sites in western Queensland will benefit from a funding injection of almost $6 million from the state government.
Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the successful destinations had won funding through round one of the Palaszczuk government’s Transport and Tourism Connections (TTC) program.
The money had been committed in last year’s budget, to improve road access to significant tourist sites, and is allocated on a 50:50 basis with local governments.
The Winton Shire Council’s lobby for a sealed road for one of their big tourism attractions was held up as an example of the type of road that would be eligible when the government announced the program in June last year, and a bitumen road to the popular Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum was one of the successful projects.
Roads to the Big Red sand hill west of Birdsville, to the Combo Waterhole in the McKinlay shire, and to Hell Hole Gorge National Park north west of Adavale, are among the others that will be made more accessible to tourists.
Mr Bailey said the experience offered at these sites and others were available nowhere else in the world.
“With the increasing popularity of drive tourism as a preferred choice for domestic and international tourists, it is essential we make sure our incredible sites are as easy and safe to visit as possible.
“Our aim is to maximise this funding injection, ensuring many tourist locations in rural and regional Queensland benefit from this much-needed funding.”
Mount Isa MP, Rob Katter, thanked Mr Bailey for the delivery of $2.25 million in funding towards the paving of the road to one of Winton’s dinosaur attractions, saying the town’s economy would receive a boost from more visitors as a result.
“I would like to give credit to Winton Shire Mayor Butch Lenton and his council who fought very hard to get the funding and while thankful for delivery, I would like to point out that this funding was approved as part of last year’s state budget, which has taken close to 10 months to deliver.”
He said he would be pursuing the government to continue investment in rural roads as part of the upcoming budget, and was armed with a list of road infrastructure projects in his electorate.
The successful projects include:
- Winton Shire Council Age of Dinosaur Road Pave and Seal (Stage 1 - 3.5km)
- Winton Shire Council Age of Dinosaur Road Pave and Seal (Stage 2 – 3.7km)
- Diamantina Shire Council Birdsville - Windorah Road Pave and Seal
- Diamantina Shire Council Big Red Road – Overtaking Opportunity
- Blackall - Tambo Regional Council Blackall Aquatic Centre Car Park
- Blackall - Tambo Regional Council Qantas Crash Site Access Road Pave and Seal
- Blackall - Tambo Regional Council Tambo Airfield Road Access Pave and Seal
- Longreach Regional Council River Farms Road Pave and Seal
- Barcaldine Regional Council Regional Tourism Signage
- Barcaldine Regional Council Parking Improvements on Capricorn Highway (Alpha – Barcaldine) at Oak Street
- Burke Shire Council Burketown Wharf Car park Upgrade (Truganini Road)
- Carpentaria Shire Council Burke Developmental Road - Rest Stop Upgrades
- McKinlay Shire Council RV Site Access Road from Flinders Highway to Shaw Street, Julia Creek
- McKinlay Shire Council Combo Waterhole Access Road
- Mount Isa City Council Moondarra Drive Upgrade Works
- Richmond Shire Council Richmond RV Park Access - Hillier Street
- Bulloo Shire Council Brisbane to Adelaide Connector (Innamincka Road)
- Quilpie Shire Council Hell Hole National Park (Quilpie - Adavale Road)
The government expects the projects to start in coming months, with delivery of the whole program expected to be completed by mid-2018, weather permitting.
The remaining $4m of the Transport and Tourism Connections program is yet to be announced.