FLOOD-PRONE: Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains is one of the most flood-prone roads in the region.
FLOOD-PRONE: Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains is one of the most flood-prone roads in the region. Peter Carruthers

Federal Government millions could result in Plains sailing

THE heat is on the State Government to cough up some coin after the Federal Government announced $29.6 million in funding to fix Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said it was rare the Federal Government would step in to supply funding to a state-controlled road, but he hoped the funding would "embarrass" the State Government into action.

"It's a vital link between the residential communities in Cannonvale and surrounds to hospitals and schools in Proserpine, and we just can't have that road cut off for lengthy periods of time," he said.

"On top of that, there's also the tourism issue - the economic imperative was what bought the Federal Government to the table.

"The tourism sector in the Whitsundays is a nationally recognised sector and we need to fix that bottle neck," he said.

Mr Christensen said it had been difficult to get a cost estimate to fix the road as the State Government had been "absolutely atrocious" to get information out of, but the total cost was thought to be about $37 million.

The Federal Government has supplied 80 per cent of the total funding and Mr Christensen said it was now up to the State Government to supply the remaining $7.4 million.

"They have to build it. They own the road and if they decide they're not going forward with the project then it doesn't happen."

He added it would be "extremely bizarre" if the State Government didn't stump up the outstanding 20 per cent to fix the road.

The $29.6 million investment comes under the Federal Government's Road of Strategic Importance initiative.

Under the initiative, key freight roads are targeted to ensure they are always able to connect agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hubs.

Works such as road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments are conducted through the initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Government had been working closely with state and territory governments and industry.

"The additional $1 billion funding in the budget brings the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative up to $4.5 billion," he said.

"This investment will deliver ongoing employment opportunity in regional areas through a 10-year commitment to fixing our key freight and tourism corridors."