State plan identifies key projects for Darling Downs and South West Region
A total of 83 projects in the Darling Downs and South West have been identified as key priorities for continued support and investment in the final version of the Queensland Infrastructure Plan.
The completed Infrastructure Plan — representing a significant portion of the Queensland Government’s $15 billion capital program for 2011-12— has been unveiled following feedback from community, industry and local government on the original plan released in July 2011.
Incorporating nearly 1000 projects and programs across the state over the next 20 years, the Queensland Infrastructure Plan represents the first time state, local government and private sector projects have been encompassed in the one document to provide a pipeline of projects across the whole of the state.
At least 65 per cent of the projects are located outside South East Queensland and provides the following outline of priorities for the Darling Downs and South West Region.
As the resources industry expands in the Surat Basin, the existing transport system will need to respond to increased traffic.
In the short-term, work is being undertaken to rehabilitate, strengthen and widen key sections of highway, such as the Warrego–Landsborough Highway rehabilitation package and the completion of the Roma to Mitchell Warrego Highway upgrade project.
The Queensland Government will continue to seek federal funding for upgrades to the Warrego and Landsborough highways and press the Australian Government for a second crossing of the Great Dividing Range at Toowoomba.
Major initiatives such as Surat Basin Rail will connect the region to the Port of Gladstone. If the project is commercially viable, the Queensland Government will grant the private proponent a long-term concession to construct and operate the railway.
Upgrades to key sections of the existing Queensland Rail Ltd Western Rail Line will also be needed when commercial demand for the service arises.
Investigations are currently underway to identify potential opportunities for re-using coal seam gas (CSG) water where appropriate, and to identify opportunities for achieving beneficial uses such as offsetting existing groundwater use in the Condamine.
In the longer term, infrastructure constructed to re-use CSG water may also be connected to the proposed Nathan Dam in the Central Queensland region.
The Kenya to Chinchilla Pipeline, to be developed in the short-term, will supplement water supplies to Chinchilla, both for urban supply and potential agricultural use for the life of the associated CSG project.
Infrastructure investment will focus on providing new and expanded services in high growth areas. In the short-term, the Queensland Government plans to expand and upgrade the emergency departments at Toowoomba and Roma hospitals, improve access to cancer care health services by establishing a regional cancer centre in Toowoomba, and improve access to local mental health services.
Community and emergency services
The Queensland Police Service and other government agencies will identify the cumulative impacts of major projects and urban development, and plan future police, ambulance, fire and rescue and corrective services infrastructure.
To support the growing mining sector and complement ambulance facilities in small mining communities, funding is being provided for ambulance staff housing in the Surat Basin.
Education and skills development
Tertiary services will be expanded to help address skills shortages driven by the resource boom. In addition, secondary and primary schooling will be expanded where required and trade training centres in schools will be established at Charleville, Stanthorpe, Oakey, Dalby and Toowoomba.
The state government is upgrading resources trade training at Miles, Taroom and Wandoan, and refurbishment of the residential campus at Dalby will enhance access for students in remote and rural communities.
Planning now underway by the Queensland Government will cover a range of family, youth and community support and homelessness services in Dalby, Roma, Tara and Chinchilla.
Housing affordability and availability will be a key focus for planning, including long-term housing, transitional housing, crisis accommodation, tenant advice and advocacy services, Home Assist Secure and Home and Community Care.