Five projects across the Somerset region will receive a share of more than $290 million in Australian Government funding under Round 5 of the Bridges Renewal Program (BRP) and Round 7 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP).
This includes safety and productivity improvements to Esk-Crows Nest Road and Lowood-Minden Road, as well as improvements to 17 bridges and the replacement of two timber bridges. The total amount of funding being provided to the Somerset Regional Council is $5.1 million.
Senator Paul Scarr said: “I know how important these projects are for the Somerset Regional Council. I have been fighting for the region to get these funds for the last six months. I am delighted that the Somerset region is getting its fair share.”
“This funding will provide local jobs and quality infrastructure just when it is needed most. I have seen the quality of the Somerset Regional Council’s works programme and I know that every dollar will be spent well.”
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann said, “We are absolutely ecstatic and very grateful to the Australian Government for their contribution of $5.1 million to make this all possible.”
“This Commonwealth money will see our busiest local road, Lowood-Minden Road widened and made safer and more productive, make sure 19 local bridges can carry commercial loads and see Esk-Crows Nest Road significantly improved for cattle producers transporting to our largest local employer, Kilcoy Global Foods.”
“It all adds up to long-term jobs, improved road safety and big productivity gains for our area.”
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington, and Member for Lockyer, Jim McDonald also welcomed the funding announcement.
“The Federal Government have injected significant funding into the Somerset region over the past few years through the Bridges Renewal Program and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the impact it is having on road safety and improved productivity for our community is obvious,” Deb Frecklington said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said these latest rounds would support 350 projects across the nation.
“I am pleased to deliver more than $290 million in funding to more than 350 projects nationwide, which will upgrade and replace bridges which have been damaged or are deteriorating and improve key heavy vehicle infrastructure,” Mr McCormack said.
“By improving our road network this funding will also help keep people safe on our roads while making key freight routes more efficient, delivering long-term benefits to drivers, businesses and local communities.
“This includes our truckies, who form an essential part of the backbone of our national economy and have been working tirelessly during COVID-19 to keep shelves stocked, hospitals supplied and the economy moving.
“Now more than ever the continued roll out of road infrastructure projects is important to support local jobs, underpin economic growth and ensure all Australians can reach their destinations sooner and safer and communities can rest assured that’s exactly what our Government is doing.”
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said 50 per cent of this funding would benefit communities impacted by the ongoing drought and earlier bushfire events.
“$146.97 million in funding through these rounds will go to councils affected by bushfires, drought or both – providing secure work for local construction contractors and businesses who have felt the cumulative impact of these events and now COVID-19 while delivering lasting infrastructure that will benefit the region for years to come,” Mr Buchholz said.
“Already more than 500 projects funded through the BRP and HVSPP across the country have either been completed or are well underway and I look forward to getting shovels in the ground on these next projects.”