The IQ-RAP was developed through consultation and engagement with local governments, peak industry bodies and Regional Development Australia Committees at regional roads forums in December 2013 in Longreach and in August 2014 in Mount Isa, with participants coming from across Queensland.
Following the organisation of the above forums, Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA) was requested and agreed to be the Secretariat and was tasked with raising funds from partners. Initial seed funding was received from eight Regional Road and Transport Groups (RRTGs) and project funding was forthcoming from 33 local governments that covered 82% of Queensland’s area, RACQ and five Regional Development Australia Committees.
A Working Group was established to oversee the direction of the IQ-RAP and a project sub-committee was formed. Harrison Infrastructure Group (HIG) was engaged through a tender process to develop the first “Plan”.
The objectives of IQ-RAP have always been to drive:
· jobs growth;
· productivity increases for businesses to remain competitive and grow;
· improvements in safety and a reduction in economic and social costs associated with road accidents;
· opening up of new opportunities for tourism;
· sustainability of local governments and businesses; and
· resilient connectivity for the delivery of goods and services and people to access employment, health, education and recreation.
In February 2016, the Inland Queensland Roads Action Plan was launched. This was followed by extensive advocacy to the Australian and Queensland Governments and peak industry bodies by the Working Group, RDAs, RRTGs, individual councils and peak industry bodies.
In mid-2017, IQ-RAP partners agreed to extend the project and update the Plan into a new Inland Queensland Road Network Strategy (IQRNS), taking into account the funding commitments that had been made to priorities identified in 2016, carrying over the priorities that still required funding and updating the Multi-Criteria Analysis with new information. 28 local governments, 5 Regional Development Australia Committees and RACQ provided on-going funding support. The IQRNS was launched in mid-2018 and further extensive advocacy was undertaken.
To date, approximately $2 billion has been attracted to the identified priorities in the 2016 Plan and the 2018 Strategy. Furthermore, in 2020 the strategic inland Queensland road network was listed as a nationally significant project on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List (IPL) and subsequently on the 2021 update to that list. The IPL is a highly credible and well-respected list of priorities that is recognised by the Australian Government to help inform and direct future investment.
RDA wishes to acknowledge the work of the IQ-RAP Working Group, RDAs, Regional Road and Transport Groups, individual Councils and other stakeholders including peak industry bodies that have advocated for funding for these road upgrades.
RDA also wishes to acknowledge the commitment and support shown by the Australian and Queensland Governments to improving the productivity and safety of the inland Queensland road network.