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The Queensland Budget Unpacked: A Record Transport Spend Set To Transform Regional Areas

The Queensland Budget Unpacked: A Record Transport Spend Set To Transform Regional Areas

over 1 year ago By Emily Harris

Last Tuesday the Queensland government released their 2020-21 State Budget which was historic for a number of reasons, but one key reason being the record spend on ‘transformative transport infrastructure’ which the government stated will play a significant role in Queensland’s COVID-19 economic recovery.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick announced that $6.3 billionwill be invested into new local rail lines and road upgrades while an additional $600 millionof the budget has been allocated to ensuring trains are built in Queensland for the first time in almost a decade. This $600 million is the government’s first instalment of their $1 billion 10 year commitment to make trains in the state again and it’s estimated that the government will spend $35 million on the project before June 30, 2021.

The government’s $6.3 billion investment will go into road and rail projects across the state- from the Gold Coast to Cairns and everywhere in between. Design & Build outline some of the biggest of these projects below:


In addition to the 10-year commitment to manufacturing trains in Queensland, the budget is also allocating money to help revitalise rail manufacturing in Rockhampton. Other key commitments include an additional $1.5 billion spend to The Cross River Rail project before June 30, 2021. The aim of the project – which started construction in 2019 – is to increase network capacity along the new 10.2km underground line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills. Three new train stations on the Gold Coast will be built as part of the project as well as upgrades to eight above-ground stations. The government has estimated that through-out the Cross River Rail project’s construction, 7700 full-time equivalent jobswill be supported as well as 450 apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities.

Rail is also becoming a big focus for the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions with $709.9 million in joint funding being allocated for the Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3A, which aims to extend the tram line south to Burleigh Heads- $50m of which is projected to be spent in 2020-2021. Meanwhile, the budget also outlined that work will be continuing on the $550.8 millionjointly funded North Coast Rail line between Beerburrum and Nambour, with at least $38 millionto be spent within the next year.

The government also set aside more than $1 billionfor the Rail Network Strategy package, which includes $255 million for the New Generation Rollingstock, European Train Control System fitment and $600 million for the Rollingstock Expansion Project.


Two of the most significant projects the government announced within this year’s budget are the road upgrades to both the Bruce Highway and Gateway Motorway. The Queensland Government have been working closely with the Australian Government to deliver the Bruce Highway upgrade program claimed by the Government as key to ‘strengthening the state’s spine’. The 2020-21 budget announcement revealed that a further seven key projects across the highway will be conducted, including a $1.1 billion spend towards a Ring Road built in Rockhampton, a $1 billion spend to construct a part of the highway between Cooroy and Curra and $932.2million to widen the road between Colundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway.

The Queensland government also committed to an additional $100 millionbeing injected to the overall Bruce Highway project, acknowledging the priority for upgrades between Mackay and Properpine, and between Gladstone and Rockhampton.

Meanwhile the M1 Pacific Motorway is receiving $3.4 billion – jointly funded by the Australian Government, to continue upgrades to the the state’s busiest major highway. The M1 plays a significant role in connecting communities across South East Queensland and therefore the upgrades will include major projects to help facilitate this, like the Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade, the Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill upgrade and the Yatala South and Pimpama upgrades.

Other key highway projects are the $400 million Ipswich Motorway upgrade from Rocklea to Darra and the $164 million Smithfield Bypass on the Captain Cook highway.

The capital program in 2020-21- which includes the major road upgrades and rail projects listed above, is estimated to support 46,000 jobs, as ultimately the end goal for the state is to support Queenslanders in finding and securing work.

“The budget is measured, it’s responsible and of course it’s been endorsed by the people of Queensland,” Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk said when the budget was first announced.

“It’s all about jobs, jobs and more jobs.”

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To find out more about any of the roles listed above, or to reach out to our team of consultants for a confidential chat about the job market or any upcoming opportunities within the engineering industry, you can contact us here:

For a more detailed description of any of the projects outlined above, you can visit the Queensland Government State Budget website: