$800 Million Rockhampton Ring Road delayed exasperating local leaders and businesses

As the peak regional economic development organisation in Central Queensland, Capricorn Enterprise has for the past decade successfully advocated for critical road, rail and air infrastructure as one of our region’s Major Priority Projects.  The Rockhampton Ring Road is an absolute necessity for the existing and future growth of the region and as the remaining national highway pinch point in Queensland between Brisbane and Cairns it absolutely should not be delayed.  But that is exactly what has happened with many businesses tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Based on the currently forecast delays associated with the project, Capricorn Enterprise conservatively estimates that over $130 million in direct contracted revenue will be forgone over the planned three-year project duration. We note that this figure excludes specialist technical and professional services provided by regional businesses (e.g. geotechnical, environmental), supporting infrastructure and indirect economic benefits derived through flow-on effects of an increased population base and associated support services (e.g. accommodation, meals, retail spend etc).

In terms of employment impacts, construction industry resourcing plans indicate that over 170 direct apprentice and trainee positions would be created, with 140 new full-time employee positions required over the 3.5 year project timeframe. This amounts a loss of an additional $39.5 million in wages foregone had the project proceeded as planned from early 2023 through to 2026.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry MP, Senator Matt Canavan and their Opposition colleagues, who achieved this major funding for the region are outraged and rightly so.  Here are their official media releases:

24 October 2022 Joint Media Release – Central Queensland left in the cold – capricornenterprise.com.au/wp-content/uploads/221024-MEDIA-RELEASE-CENTRAL-QUEENSLAND-BEING-LEFT-BEHIND.pdf

25 October 2022 Joint Media Release – Labor confirms funding to rural and regional Australia to be slashed – capricornenterprise.com.au/wp-content/uploads/221025-JMR-LABOR-CONFIRMS-FUNDING-TO-RURAL-AND-REGIONAL-AUSTRALIA.pdf

In November 2018, the Prime Minister announced $800 Million for the Rockhampton Ring Road.  The estimated cost of the project at $1 Billion, was subject to the Queensland government agreeing to pay the additional $200 Million.

In January 2019, the Premier of Qld and Minister for Transport and Main roads, committed $200 Million by the Queensland government to match the Federal Government guarantee of $800 Million for the Rockhampton Ring Road.  Read the full statement here: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/86442

A media release dated 22nd Jan 2019 stating “Rockhampton Ring Road a Certainty Under Labor”, has disappeared from the Prime Minister’s electorate website:


Click to read a screenshot of that media releasecapricornenterprise.com.au/wp-content/uploads/AlboRRRMR.pdf

In August 2019, the State Government called on the Federal government to increase its annual commitment to the Bruce Highway from an average of $666 million a year to $800 million a year over the next decade, citing critical road projects on the national highway.  Read the full statement here: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/88091

In April 2021, Infrastructure Australia completed its independent evaluation of the Rockhampton Ring Road proposal. The evaluation concluded: Infrastructure Australia considers that the reported benefits are likely to be slightly understated but that the costs of the project would still significantly outweigh its benefits. However, we agree with the proponent’s analysis that the project will enable strategic, program-wide benefits to be realised in the Rockhampton region and along the Bruce Highway. The project’s location on a floodplain and its waterway crossings are identified as potential sources of cost risk.

Read the full report here – https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/projects/rockhampton-ring-road

The Department of Transport and Main Roads website outlines this critical project stating “The Rockhampton Ring Road plan, preserve and construct project will improve road safety and strengthen the region’s economy by improving freight efficiency, flood resilience and job opportunities. The alignment will support connectivity between key employment, leisure, tourism and residential growth areas of Rockhampton and the wider region.

  • A new 14.7km ring road will be delivered with a total of 17.4km of new road being constructed.
  • The ring road will link the Bruce Highway through Rockhampton extending from the Capricorn Highway (Nelson Street), to the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road/Bruce Highway intersection and will include a new crossing of the Fitzroy River at Pink Lily. 
  • The Bruce Highway is Queensland’s major north-south freight and commuter corridor, connecting coastal population centres from Brisbane to Cairns over 1,677km. 
  • The existing Bruce Highway through Rockhampton is one of the remaining pinch points between Brisbane and Cairns, with 19 sets of traffic signals to navigate.
  • Traffic volumes on the Bruce Highway in Central Queensland ranges from 2,600 vehicles per day in rural sections to 35,000 vehicles per day in urban centres.
  • It is also a key heavy vehicle route with an average of about 2,640 heavy vehicles travelling through Rockhampton daily.

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