Mayors take election wish-list to Canberra

Mayors from across Far North Queensland will prioritise road safety when they meet with senior Ministers and Shadow Ministers in Canberra this week.

The delegation is seeking a commitment of $800 million towards a total $1 billion to fund safety and reliability improvements to the Kennedy Highway (Kuranda Range Road).

Cook Shire Mayor and Far North Queensland Region of Councils (FNQROC) Deputy Chairman, Peter Scott, said, “The Kennedy Highway is travelled by nearly 9000 vehicles a day, including more than 1000 commercial and heavy vehicles.

“It’s an incredibly important transport link from both an economic and a social perspective.

“Yet we have, on average, 1.3 unplanned closures of the road every week and one person injured every four days while travelling on the Kuranda Range.

“These incidents are costing the broader community more than $870,000 a week in health services and property damage, on top of lost productivity.

“We need all levels of government to work together toward a solution.”

Cairns Regional Council Mayor, Bob Manning, one of eight other Mayors travelling to Canberra, said, “This delegation provides an opportunity for all Far North Queensland councils to work together for the good of the broader region. A shared approached holds greater weight and demonstrates the level of cooperation and coordination we have up here.”

Other commitments being sought include expansion of HMAS Cairns navy base, a review of existing management of the Great Barrier Reef, remote housing projects for Indigenous communities, and relationship-building with Papua New Guinea that would enable the establishment of a joint NRL venture with Cairns.