After months of argy-bargy over who should pay what, the Queensland Government has confirmed; it will meet Canberra’s pledge to stump up half of the funding needed for improvements to the Pacific Motorway.
It means almost $2 billion will be spent on widening works between Varsity Lakes and Tugun and upgrades between Eight Mile Plains and Daisy Hill.
In a statement released on Saturday morning, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the money would be put aside in June’s State Budget, calling the announcement “a win for residents of the Gold Coast, Logan and Brisbane”.
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“The Palaszczuk Government will invest $487.5 million, half of the total cost, between 2018 and 2022, ensuring work can start as soon as possible,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We know just how important these upgrades are to Queenslanders and we cannot wait any longer for this vital infrastructure work to begin,” she added.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government confirmed it would pledge almost $1 billion in funding for the upgrades, demanding Queensland match the figure 50-50 per cent.
It was met with plenty of heat from Queensland’s Labor Government, due to a previous agreement of funding to be split 80-20 per cent.
The Palaszczuk Government claims more than 80 per cent of the funding committed by the Federal Coalition won’t flow until after 2022-23.
“We don’t want the Gold Coast to have to sit around and wait for Malcolm Turnbull’s funding,” Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said.
“We want to see work getting underway as soon as possible, so we’ve brought funding forward so these upgrades can kick off immediately after the current works from Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes are complete,” Ms Trad said.
“More than half of Queensland’s funding, almost $500 million, will be spent over the next four years. That means planning will be finished and work will be underway by 2020.”
As part of the M1 Action Plan, works for the Exit 57 interchange upgrade at Oxenford are set to start next year.