The Government of Australia has unveiled plans to invest approximately A$730m ($518m) to upgrade around 700km of roads in North Queensland.

The investment will focus on strategic corridors such as Townsville to Tennant Creek with A$200m ($142m), Yeppoon to Mount Isa with A$190m ($134.82m), and Cooktown to Weipa with A$190m ($134.82m). Funding of A$100m ($71m) will be provided for the Townsville to Roma corridor, while the Cairns to the Northern Territory border (Savannah Way) will receive A$50m ($35.4m).

It is believed that the investment will support North Queensland in recovering from some of the worst floods in its history by connecting western parts of Queensland to the coast.

The investment plan will involve the creation of the first sealed inland highway from Cairns to Melbourne by completing the Hann Highway. The highway will cut travel time between Mareeba and Melbourne by 12 hours.

Plans include sealing of the Springsure to Tambo route, which will cut eight hours off a round trip and save approximately A$1,400 ($993.64) per trip for Queensland cattle producers.

Additionally, the investment will be used to upgrade the 3,500km Savannah Way that connects Cairns to Broome.

“These vital upgrades will reduce freight costs, better connect businesses to markets and improve access and safety for local communities.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the ROSI initiative funding would make roads safer and boost productivity. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

McCormack added: “This investment is yet another part of the Liberal and Nationals’ vision to get people home sooner and safer, no matter where they live.

“By making the freight system more efficient local businesses will also have more money to invest in their operations, creating more jobs and providing a vital shot in the arm for the agriculture and mining sectors, which are so important to central and north Queensland jobs and communities.”

Roads and Transport Assistant Minister Scott Buchholz said the announcement followed extensive consultation with key stakeholders in Queensland’s north.

Buchholz said: “The upgrade works will include road strengthening and widening, road sealing and realignment, and improvements to make them more resilient to the tropical wet season.

“These vital upgrades will reduce freight costs, better connect businesses to markets and improve access and safety for local communities.”