A Federal Government allocation of $400 million to activate an Inland Freight Route in Queensland has been warmly welcomed by industry.
The significant announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week to provide a safe alternative to the Bruce Highway for freight carriers and commercial road transport operators is expected to help bolster the Queensland economy.
As a critical infrastructure investment, the Inland Freight Route will unlock access for high productivity combinations such as A-doubles and B-triples while building regional capacity and connecting major freight routes.
Queensland Trucking Association Chief Executive Gary Mahon said the announcement ensures road freight is recognised as a significant contributor to the economy.
“The road freight industry is vital for the operation and survival of the vast geographical footprint of communities and business across the nation,” he said.
“The reliance on the road freight industry has never been more profound due to the extensive and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 economic crisis with disrupted global supply chains, simmering trade tensions and weaker demand,” said Mahon.
“To be viable, the road freight industry needs to be competitive on every metric to keep pace on the global map and keep our freight efficiency comparable – our leading manufacturing and production industries depend on it.”
Along with a recent announcement by the Queensland State Government to provide $200million the announcement by the Federal Government will deliver a long-term program of priority works between Mungindi on the NSW border and Charters Towers, which will connect vital goods with markets and support more than 600 jobs.
Construction is expected to commence in early 2023.
The road freight industry employs over 62,000 Queenslanders.
With the road freight task expected to grow 26 per cent in the next six years, a high productivity freight network in Queensland would improve efficiencies for exporters, mean fewer trucks on the road and greater efficiencies for road freight operators struggling under the weight of increasing costs.