The RDA Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA NWQ) Committee initiated the concept of an inland roads action plan in late 2013, based on the success of the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ Bruce Highway Action Plan in securing funding commitments over 10 years. RDA NWQ engaged RDA Far North Queensland & Torres Strait along with three other RDA Committees and a broad range of stakeholders to hold forums in Longreach and Mount Isa to test the need, opportunity and appetite to progress the initiative which has become known as the Inland Queensland Roads Action Plan (IQ-RAP). This plan is the first of its kind in Australia based on taking a strategic network-wide approach, over a long period, over such a large area with so many contributing stakeholders
IQ-RAP is a bipartisan project funded by 33 local governments, 8 Regional Roads and Transport Groups, 4 RDA Committees, the NQ RDA Alliance and RACQ to drive regional economic development across regional Queensland. The IQ-RAP will deliver sustainable jobs, improve productivity for existing industries and businesses along supply chains, enhance competitiveness of exporters, support new private sector investment and improve resilience and connectivity for the delivery of goods and services to communities.
The IQ-RAP was publicly launched in Charters Towers in February 2016. The vision for the IQ-RAP is to increase the quality and accessibility of the road network to maximise the economic prosperity of inland Queensland, thereby contributing to Australia’s productivity, quality of life, safety and equity outcomes.
The IQ-RAP area covers 1.4million km2 which equates to 82% of Queensland and 19% of Australia. It is an economic powerhouse with the resources and energy, agriculture and tourism industries contributing significantly to export income and national GDP. 52% of Queensland’s economy, that is $150 billion p.a. is generated outside Greater Brisbane.
With the assistance of the Harrison Infrastructure Group, the IQ-RAP was developed using established roads planning and prioritisation methodology including the use of multi criteria analysis that reviewed Economic Value, Safety, Strategic Intent, Access and Social value.
The plan reviewed a total of 16,000 km of strategic road network and identifies 3,000 km of roads and 300 bridges that require upgrading to fit for purpose standards over the next 18 years. There is no “gold plating” or “blue sky build it so they will come”. The priorities are based on current demand and suitable standards to meet that demand.
An average of $277 million p.a. expenditure over 18 years can achieve these prioritised upgrades to the road network as well as achieving the regional economic benefits mentioned above.
Over 18 years, the investment required to deliver the IQ-RAP is $5 billion. That is roughly equivalent to 0.19% of the regional economy and communities it supports.
Stakeholder Engagement: For the list of of stakeholders briefed click here.