The funding arrangement, announced today in Tambo, will come from the Queensland Government through the Royalties for the Regions program.
As part of the same program the Barcaldine Regional Council will also receive $4.32 million to upgrade the Eastmere Road north-east of Barcaldine.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the funding would boost economic growth in the region.
“This program directs royalties earned by the resources sector back into critical community infrastructure in regional Queensland, improving services and quality of life for people in the bush,”Mr Emerson said.
“Regional centres such as Barcaldine and Blackall are fast becoming hubs for significant resource projects, and we are pleased to be able to partner with local councils to upgrade infrastructure for the benefit of local residents, tourists and business people.”
Mr Emerson said the road rehabilitation project allowed for the realignment and resealing of nearly 29 kilometres of Eastmere Road, north-east of Barcaldine.
“The region’s primary industries and resource sectors are dependent on this busy stretch of road which has become degraded because of high volumes of traffic,” he said.
“At Blackall, current airport infrastructure is no longer adequate to meet demand as the town becomes a hub for regional resource projects.
“The installation of a new fuel storage and refuelling system, and runway and taxi lights will cater for extra passengers and meet Civil Aviation Safety Authority standards.”
Barcaldine Regional Shire Mayor Rob Chandler said the funding for Eastmere Road would be welcomed by locals and new resource road users.
“This funding will significantly improve safety and vehicle efficiency for local residents and other motorists, including heavy vehicles associated with mining activities in the region,” Mr Chandler said.
“This is the main arterial for linking Lake Dunn and Lake Galilee, as well as a route further east to the proposed Adani Mine and Clermont.”
Blackall-Tambo Shire Mayor Councillor Barry Muir said his Council was grateful for the improvements that Royalties for the Regions funding will support at the Blackall airport.
“This funding will make our airport a safer set down point for all manner of aircraft, which includes Flying Doctor flights many times per week,” Mr Muir said.
“The refuelling facility will save time and money for the RFDS in that they won’t have to set down in other towns to refuel prior to picking up patients from Blackall, not to mention shortening the time for patient evacuations.
“As most patient evacuations are mainly night time emergencies, the lighting upgrade is paramount for safety and we are very appreciative of all aspects of the funding for overall air safety to our region.
“With imminent mining operations around Alpha, the refuelling facility will ensure there will be adequate set down points for possible fly in-fly out operations to help service the needs of mines in the Central Western area.
“It will also allow commercial flights to be refuelled on the Longreach route if headwinds drain a plane’s endurance and have had to divert to Emerald or Roma to ensure safety.”