A new $1.5 billion Australian Government infrastructure package will provide an immediate injection into the Sunshine Coast economy and help bring jobs back online through $18 million in safety upgrades to the Steve Irwin Way.

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said getting shovels in the ground on local construction projects was critical for maintaining jobs and economic growth on the Sunshine Coast.

“More than most regions around the country our community relies on the construction industry to deliver a major part of our economic success. Every single job that we support in construction makes a huge difference to the Sunshine Coast now and as we navigate out of the pandemic.” Mr Wallace said.

“On the Sunshine Coast this funding will help support $18 million worth of safety upgrades to the Steve Irwin Way. Those of us who have lived on the Sunshine Coast for any length of time know that Steve Irwin Way can be a very dangerous stretch. These much-needed upgrades will get underway by September and should be complete by the middle of next year.”

“These types of infrastructure projects will also be particularly crucial for helping us bounce back after the COVID-19 crisis has ended by ensuring we have the safe transport connections needed for Sunshine Coast residents to keep moving.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new package would fund shovel-ready infrastructure projects that can support local jobs immediately.

“This funding will deliver critical infrastructure projects right across the country to help keep construction businesses running and people in jobs,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“$1 billion of this package will fund projects that can get underway now and over the next six months, to give an immediate boost to the economy and local jobs – right at the time we need it.

“We will work together with the states and territories to deliver these job-creating priority projects, building on our unprecedented cooperation to date through the National Cabinet of States and Territories.”

“The package also includes a $500 million Targeted Road Safety Works initiative for states and territories to deliver smaller but critical projects to improve road safety and bolster the resilience of our local road networks.

“The Government has already announced $500 million for local governments to support projects such as road safety improvements, maintaining community infrastructure and increasing accessibility.

“Now we are announcing a substantial funding injection for national infrastructure priorities such as these Steve Irwin Way upgrades.

“This is part of our $100 billion, 10-year infrastructure pipeline, which is laying the foundations of a financial bridge to recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the $1.5 billion package, combined with the additional funding to local governments, is expected to support up to 12,000 direct and indirect jobs by creating new local opportunities and securing existing positions.

“This package will support thousands of jobs across our national construction sector, which we know is facing many challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” Mr Tudge said.

“This includes local governments as well, who will receive funding to deliver targeted projects in their area.

“These types of infrastructure projects will be particularly crucial for helping us bounce back after the COVID-19 crisis has ended by ensuring we have the safe transport connections needed for all of Australia to keep moving.

“We will continue to work across governments and in partnership with industry to ensure the safety of all Australians while they deliver our pipeline of critical infrastructure projects.”