The upgrades will deliver safer roads, positive operational outcomes and cost savings for the Australian Defence Force, every other road user and Livingstone ratepayers. All we need is the political will and ‘goodwill’ to make it happen.
Stage 1 of the proposed upgrades would see Stanage Bay Road fully widened and sealed to Stevens Road Army Access Gate (39.3kms) at an estimated cost of $21.6 million and Stage 2 would complete the balance to Stanage Township (40kms) at an estimated cost of $26 million.
If just 2.16% the proposed $1 billion SWBTA upgrades was made available over the first 2 years, and a further 2.6% over the following 3 years, the entire project would be completed over a five year period.
Thirteen years ago former Defence Minister Robert Hill commitment the first $7.4M toward upgrading unsafe Shoalwater Bay Army Training Area access routes. Today Livingstone ratepayers lives are still being put at risk during major exercises by the failure of successive Federal Governments to finish the job.
To add insult to injury, all Livingstone ratepayers are also still footing almost the entire maintenance bill of around $800,000 a year, just for Stanage Bay Road alone, because the Australian Government and ADF pay no rates road levy contributions like every other land owner must do..
The Australian Government occupies approximately 25% of Livingstone land mass, which is more than $1million in lost rates revenue, an amount every Livingstone ratepayer is being left to pick up a percentage of when it comes to road maintenance and upgrades.
Currently ratepayer funded roads are already carrying up to 30,000 troops and thousands of heavy army convoy and contractor vehicle movements.
This cost burden on ratepayers will increase significantly with ADF’s acquisition of even more rateable land in the Stanage Bay Road and Marlborough areas as part of expansions needed to accommodate the doubling of Singaporean troops exercising in our Shire.
Upgrading Stanage Bay Road will mean everyday road users will no longer be forced to ‘run the gauntlet’ with major army convoys and heavy military equipment on unsafe roads.
Maintenance costs will be slashed and the staging of the exercises will also be more cost effective and efficient with purpose-built transport corridors.
Primary producers will also gain a direct benefit in moving cattle and produce.
To all candidates and political parties, it’s time to just make this happen.