The Liberal and Nationals’ Government is investing to make Australia’s “longest short-cut” – the Outback Way – safer, announcing the latest state allocations totalling $160 million to upgrade the 2,720 kilometres highway from Western Australia to Queensland.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Western Australian section of the route would receive a further $76.5 million.
“It is Australia’s “longest short-cut”, and the Liberals and Nationals want to make sure it’s a safer short-cut,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Outback Way is a crucial east-west link across central Australia and is important for supporting freight transport and tourism, while connecting remote communities to critical services.
“That’s why our investment will help with works such as sealing more sections and make it safer for truckies and tourists alike.”
The Outback Way links Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland, via Alice Springs and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory.
This investment is in addition to the Northern Territory section receiving a further $50 million and the Queensland section a further $33.5 million. This $160 million was announced in the 2018-19 Budget, bringing the total commitment to $330 million.
“This investment will reduce travel times, cut freight costs and closures for critical regional industries such as mining and tourism, and improve safety along the route,” Mr McCormack said.
“The route varies in condition and standard, with sections of two-lane seal, single lane seal, gravel and unsealed roads. The Liberals and Nationals are committed to improving access, safety and efficiency through our series of major investments.”
Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the project is vital for Laverton and the northern Goldfields, providing a direct route to the east coast.
“Sealing this route will provide a significant boost for the mining, agricultural and tourism industries in the Goldfields,” Mr Wilson said.
“No matter where you live, we believe in making local roads safer and investing so product can get from paddock to plate to port faster and people can get home sooner.
“Sealing works on the Outback Way is a vital part of that investment in building the safer country roads we deserve.
“I think it’s an essential project for Australia and the allocation of funding is an important step in the process to make this project a reality.”
Outback Highway Development Council Chairman Patrick Hill said the investment will improve the standard of the road from Laverton in WA to Winton in Queensland.
“The sealing of the Outback Way improves community access, safety and efficiency and will support economic development across the region and more reliable access to health and education services for remote indigenous communities,” Mr Hill said.