Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Plan is great but we now need the money Anna

Premier Anna Bligh to announce her Government's 20-year vision for infrastructure in the Far North

Daniel Strudwick
Thursday, November 3, 2011
© The Cairns Post

The hospital is among 114 construction projects to be rolled out in the Far North before 2031 as part of Anna Bligh’s statewide infrastructure plan – the first of its kind in Australia.
The plan, to be launched by the Premier today, also includes six new schools, boosted public transport networks, Bruce Highway upgrades and extra bases for police and ambulance services."These projects will help cater for population growth, improve people’s lives and drive the region forward," Ms Bligh said."Importantly, they also give the construction industry a clear line of sight for investment and development."

Many of the projects have already been flagged by the State Government, but the plan includes a number of new items that came from public consultation after a draft was released in July. The Cairns South Hospital will start out as a health services precinct to be built on state-owned land at Edmonton.

In February, Ms Bligh launched an urgent review of the region’s health infrastructure to ensure that any future developments would reflect the lessons learnt from cyclone Yasi. The Edmonton facility is among a raft of health care improvements included in the 20-year outlook, including expansions of the Atherton, Mareeba and Thursday Island hospitals. The southern corridor will be the focus of much infrastructure planning over the next two decades, with most of the region’s population growth flagged for suburbs south of Cairns. "We are determined to deliver infrastructure that anticipates growth," Ms Bligh said.

The infrastructure plan recognises the need for urgent upgrades to the Bruce Highway and improvements to freight connections across the Far North. Emergency services will also get a boost, with two new police stations and an extra ambulance base added to the long-term planning. Ground will be broken on the first of six new schools in 2015, and work is already in progress on six early childhood education centres in the region.

The plan also addresses the need for urgent upgrades to public transport in the Cairns region, promising a fast, frequent and reliable bus-based transit network from Gordonvale to Palm Cove. It also includes long-term commitments to extend the cycleway, which goes from the CBD to Aeroglen.

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