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Council adopts $454m road overhaul blueprint

Better road train access is on the cards with $454 million upgrades proposed.
Better road train access is on the cards with $454 million upgrades proposed. Amber Hooker

A ROAD upgrade wish list has Gladstone Regional Council and western farmers dreaming of better access to Gladstone's "world class" port.

A blueprint of the ideal road upgrade network has been adopted by the council, consisting of more than $450 million of work for what the council hopes is the answer to central and western Queensland's biggest challenge.

The widening, paving, bridge and intersection upgrades would allow direct road train access from Biloela to the Gladstone Port.

Councillor Peter Masters said he was "no white knight" but had spent months rallying agricultural groups, the council, and the state and federal governments to work out the best solution.

Unveiling the plan at this week's council meeting, Cr Masters hoped it would start a discussion on what industry, governments and farmers wanted.

The upgrades would complement the Gladstone Port Access Road stage 2 upgrades, and would help western Queensland farmers export from the paddock to the Gladstone Port.

Describing the Biloela to Gladstone link as "vital infrastructure" the Calliope-based councillor said the upgrades would create opportunities for Gladstone's new and existing industries.

The Gladstone Ports Corporation could get even busier if $454m of road upgrades eventuate.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation could get even busier if $454m of road upgrades eventuate. CHRISSY HARRIS

Cr Masters, the Gladstone representative for the Inland Queensland Road Action Plan, said the council's blueprint also considered access to the Gladstone State Development Area.

"This would get road trains straight to the State Development Area ... It just works," he said.

Though in early stages, the plan has western farmers excited too, who have long waited for a solution to problem access to Gladstone Port.

Wilco Farming owner Raymond Wilkie said: "There's plenty of people around who want to see the road trains get to at least Calliope."

The Biloela farmer, who produces between 2000-5000 tonnes of wheat, mungbeans and chickpeas a year, said his company did not truck from paddock to port, but hoped to do so in the future.

"To be able to take our wheat or chickpeas direct from paddock to port, we could gain an extra $10 - 20 on each delivery," he said.

The council adopted the plan this week and was tempted to add rail to the upgrades, to helpthe bid for Surat Basin coal mines.

Mayor Matt Burnett said the recent mining lease approval for Glencore's Wandoan project proved the council needed to act to show the region was willing to take on the extra coal.

To export from Gladstone, Surat Basin coal mines would need rail connecting the south to our region.

Cr Masters has spent months lobbying at various agricultural meetings and events, most recently at the Bush Council meeting in Charters Towers which brought together 33 Queensland councils.

"It's great to be sitting in the north Queensland town of Charters Towers and talking to people from other towns and everyone is talking about Gladstone, they know we want to do business," he said.

What's involved?

Road

Total cost

Incl. DTMR and GRC estimates

$million

Dawson Hwy

117

Calliope Station Rd  

23

Mount Alma Rd

13

Bruce Hwy/Mount Alma/Aldoga Dr intersection

23

Aldoga Dr

11

Gladstone-Mt Larcom Rd

11

Hanson Rd

146

Blain Dr

16

Port Access Rd stage 2

80

Landing Rd

14

Topics:  agriculture gladstoneindustry gladstone port gladstone regional council



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