BUDGET: Vital projects overlooked for Ipswich
FUNDING for upgrades to the Cunningham Hwy between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek appears to have been overlooked once again under the Federal Government's 2021-22 budget.
The project, which has remained in limbo for years, will likely be no closer to becoming a reality as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hands down the budget on Tuesday.
It comes following a preview of the State's 'big winners' published by The Courier-Mail on Monday, detailing a $1.6 billion spend on Queensland roads and infrastructure.
Ipswich, however, remained largely absent from the list.
Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann spoke with the Queensland Times in response, saying he was "bitterly disappointed" after previewing the latest budget.
He said it was disheartening to have many of the city's top priority projects disregarded, particularly the works to Cunningham Hwy.
"They're delivering about $1.6 billion on infrastructure and there's almost nothing coming out our way, if you can believe what they've dropped to the media," he said.
"This is eight years of failure from the Federal Government, eight years of neglect in our region."
He slammed the decision not to deliver crucial funding to improve infrastructure across Queensland's fastest growing region.
He said Ipswich urgently needed improved roads and highways to cater to its expected population boom, which is tipped to exceed more than 558,000 in the next 20 years.
The budget delivered a small win for the region, however, with $4 million assigned to the $5 million Warrego Highway-Mount Crosby Rd interchange project.
Mr Neumann said this was not enough.
"Apart from the few million dollars towards the inadequate and friendless upgrade on the Mount Crosby interchange, it's totally inadequate," said Mr Neumann.
He said he was unsure why the Cunningham Hwy project was overlooked and had not spoken with any Federal representatives.
It comes almost three years on since Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack committed $170 million of federal funding to the project.
"The government are full of announcements but not spending, they can't even give us an announcement."
"It's ignoring our region and not listening. We're getting virtually nothing."
Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause said in response that he believed the project was more of a priority to Federal Government than State Government.
"I spoke with Deputy PM Michael McCormack about it again just last week - he wants it fixed, but there is no project ready to go, no project for the Feds to fund," he said.
"How can they fund something when there is no project from the State Government to fund?"
Mr Krause said it was up to the Queensland Government to build roads as the Commonwealth only funded them.
"The QLD Labor Government withdrew this project in 2018 - right after the Feds put $170 million on the table in the 2018 budget - withdrew it from Infrastructure Australia and has for nearly 3 years now failed to put up a new building project to fix this road," he said,
"How long will we wait? It's already been 25 years.
"While it's handy for the Federal Member for Blair and all the Labor State MPs who take Ipswich for granted to try and blame the Commonwealth, the fact is the people holding up this upgrade is the Palaszczuk Labor Government."
Proposed works outlined in previous business cases for the Cunningham Hwy project also included upgrades to key intersections at Yamanto and Amberley.
The roads service about 17,000 vehicles per day; close to 11,000 of those vehicles turn into RAAF Base Amberley or the army's heavy vehicle training school.
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