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North West region

The North West district covers an area of 307,082km2, or around 17.8% of Queensland. Extending from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, to Kynuna in the south, and from Torrens Creek in the east to the Northern Territory border in the west, the area is home to around 0.6% of Queensland’s total population. North West Queensland is 1 of the world’s richest mineral-producing districts. Supporting this industry as well as active agricultural, tourism, transport and logistics sectors, the region includes 3,575km of state-controlled roads and 1,024km of the National Land Transport Network.

Regional facts

Northern district Qld 
Northern district map 
Area covered

307,082km2

Population of Queensland

0.6%

Data source: Queensland Government Statistician's Office (Queensland Treasury), Queensland Regional Profiles www.qgso.qld.gov.au (retrieved 16 May 2019)

3,575km

State-controlled roads**

1,024km

National Land Transport Network**

36,014

Vehicle and machinery inspections

4

Boating infrastructures

6

Community safety events held

1,681

Vehicle safety inspections completed

87

Bridges*

1,126

Drivers licence tests conducted

9,005

Customer face-to-face interaction

2

Township entry treatments

Data source: *Bridge Information System (BIS), 30 June 2019
Data source: **A Road Management Information System (ARMIS), 2019

Highlights

  • Fifth service added to the weekly return services on the Gulf air route.
  • Completed the $8.5 million1,2 construction of a replacement bridge at Beames Brook on Wills Developmental Road.
  • Completed the $3.2 million1,3 sealing of a section of the Cloncurry–Dajarra Road between Cloncurry and Duchess.
  • Commenced construction on the $4.6 million1,4 Barkly Highway (Cloncurry – Mount Isa intersection upgrades in the Mount Isa urban area).
  • Completed the $8.7 million1,4 upgrade of culverts on the Flinders Highway, between Charters Towers and Richmond.

New air routes added to the Gulf service

In April 2019 a fifth Gulf service was added each week to the Gulf air route. The Gulf air route previously provided 4 return services each week. Following an 11-month trial in 2018 the fifth Gulf service was added to the weekly return services providing additional flight capacity to the Gulf.

Karumba residents will continue to have access to a weekly air service under the current arrangement until the end of 2020. Results from a 12-month trial commencing in October 2017 demonstrated a strong demand for the service with more than 400 passengers using the service during the trial.

The Karumba service will continue to be part of the regulated Gulf air route operated by Regional Express Airlines (Rex) under a contract with TMR.

The Gulf route operates in both directions each week day between Cairns and Mount Isa, servicing the remote communities of Normanton, Mornington Island, Burketown and Doomadgee. Karumba is serviced on Tuesday on the westbound service and from Cairns on a Thursday on the eastbound service from Mount Isa.

In April 2019, TMR employees attended the opening of the Doomadgee airport terminal as part of a Community Consultative forum held in the town. TMR visits 1 community on each of the air service routes each year to share information and gain feedback about services.

Image of small plane on tarmac

Regional Express plane at Mount Isa Airport.

Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme

The North West Queensland Regional Roads and Transport Group (RRTG) is 1 of the 17 RRTGs in Queensland that receive an annual allocation of Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) funding for local government road and transport-related initiatives. In 2018–19, TIDS funding provided over $61 million to RRTGs for the delivery of prioritised work programs, with each RRTG required to match allocated funding 50:50, at a minimum.

Despite the devastating effects of a monsoon in January–February 2019, which caused extensive damage to the network, the North West Queensland RRTG fully delivered the prioritised TIDS works program for 2018–19.

With the active support of the department following the flood event, the North West Queensland RRTG successfully:

  • delivered 19 projects programmed throughout the year including reseal works, pavement rehabilitation and floodway replacement
  • achieved 100% expenditure of their annual TIDS allocation by 30 June 2019.

Beames Brook Bridge replacement (Wills Developmental Road)

The $8.5 million Beames Brook Bridge replacement on the Wills Developmental Road was completed in December 2018.

Commencing in August 2018 the project jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government, included site preparation, removal of the previous bridge structures, construction of a new precast 3-span-bridge, piling works, new abutments, headstocks and deck surface and bridge rails. A further 800m of approach roadworks were also constructed.

The new 3-span concrete bridge has improved safety and provides better access for remote communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The bridge site location, and surrounding areas, have a high level of cultural significance to the Traditional Owners of the land, the Gangalidda people and Garawa people, in particular the waterways and surrounding areas. TMR and the Traditional Owners, the Gangalidda people and Garawa people worked together and identified the cultural and environmental importance of the bridge site.

A commissioning event was held in April 2019 to celebrate the renaming of the structure; it is now known as the John Yanner Milmarja Ngarnara Bridge.

The original Beames Brook Bridge was a timber bridge with 2 10m spans. Built in 1958, it was the only remaining timber bridge on the state-controlled road network in North West Queensland, which was temporarily replaced in December 2015. A temporary steel structure was sourced and installed from December 2015 and completed in early 2016. The Unibridge structure is a 1 lane steel girder structure and is a unique bridge asset for the department.

Beames Brook Bridge is located in north western Queensland about 27km south of Burketown on the Wills Developmental Road. Wills Developmental Road is a key road providing access to the Gulf of Carpentaria and broader north western region of Queensland and is a key arterial within northern Australia’s road network, essential for the movement of people and freight.

A new bridge was delivered up in the Gulf of Queensland, outside Burketown, the Barramundi Capital of Australia. The Traditional Owners of the area, the Gangalidda Garawa people, refer to the running brook as Milmarja Ngarnara that means breeding hub for the female barramundi and a safe place for their eggs to be laid.

Barkly Highway (Cloncurry – Mount Isa) intersection upgrades

The $4.6 million Barkly Highway (Cloncurry – Mount Isa) Intersection Upgrades in Mount Isa began in March 2019 with 9 intersections to be upgraded to improve safety and ease congestion.

This work is being undertaken as this urban section of the Barkly Highway in Mount Isa has shown to have a poor vehicle crash history with a high proportion of incidents occurring at intersections.

The project will improve safety for all road users and flow of traffic at the intersections. It is jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government under the Northern Australia Roads Program.

Construction of this critical project is expected to be completed by December 2019, construction and weather conditions permitting.

Transport and Tourism connections program

The transport system plays a vital role in supporting and connecting our tourism industry. A single, integrated transport system that is accessible to everyone is essential to making Queensland’s wide variety of tourism experiences accessible to visitors. The aim of the Queensland Government’s $10 million Transport and Tourism Connections program is to improve transport and road access to established tourist attractions on the state-controlled and local government road networks. In round 1 of the program, priority was given to sites on Queensland’s strategic drive tourism routes and highly-trafficked regional tourist routes.

The following projects were completed in 2018–19 under the Transport and Tourism Connections program:

  • sealing of access and turn around area in the Richmond RV Park for accessibility during wet weather
  • upgrade of the Burketown Wharf car park including the installation of 70 all-weather car parking bays
  • upgrade of 1.2km of the Lake Moondarra access road
  • upgrade of the recreational vehicle site access road from Flinders Highway to Shaw Street, Julia Creek
  • sealing of 8km of the Gidgee Bug Byway (Gilliat–McKinlay Road).

Future priorities

  • Complete the $4.5 million safety and floodway upgrades on sections of the Gregory Downs–Camooweal Road.
  • Complete the $7 million5,6 replacement of the Isa Street Bridge in Mount Isa to improve community access.
  • Complete the $50 million7 paving and sealing sections of the Kennedy Developmental Road (Hann Highway), between Hughenden and The Lynd.
  • Commence development of a business case for upgrade of the Alick Creek floodway.

References

  • 1 Reflects Life to Date expenditure for project.
  • 2 Part of the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program, jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government.
  • 3 Part of the Australian Government’s Northern Australia Beef Roads Program, jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government.
  • 4 Part of the Australian Government’s Northern Australia Roads Program, jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government.
  • 5 Part of the Australian Government’s Bridges Renewal Program, jointly funded by the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Local Government. The Queensland Government contribution is funded through the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme.
  • 6 Part of this project is funded through the Queensland Government’s Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme.
  • 7 The scope of this work also falls within Etheridge Shire Council, with funding for this project only represented in North West District. Project is part of the Australian Government’s Northern Australia Roads Program, jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government.