An allocation of $1 million will kick-start a pilot project that could evolve into a rolling program to seal the entirety of Wiluna-Meekatharra Road while creating ongoing work for locals.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Kyle McGinn met with the Shire of Wiluna on May 1 to progress the proposal for a pilot project.
The Wiluna-Meekatharra Road provides an important east-west transport link between the Northern Goldfields and the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions.
The initial allocation of $1 million would help seal the first four kilometres between the Wiluna town site and an existing 10 kilometre asphalted section of the road.
If successful, the stakeholders would investigate the viability of creating a rolling program to seal further sections of the road.
Currently, 125km out of 180km of road between the towns of Wiluna and Meekatharra remains unsealed.
The poor condition of some parts of the road restricts access, which is exacerbated during seasonal rainfall events, resulting in road closures several times per annum and safety concerns from surrounding communities.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“This is an innovative and cost-effective way of tackling a community issue using local knowledge and expertise – I commend local member Kyle McGinn on his work with the local community.
“We have seen the great benefits of road projects creating ongoing opportunities for Aboriginal employment in other parts of the State.
“This pilot project, while supported by the State Government, is about empowering locals to come together to work on a project that they will all benefit from.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“This project is a fantastic opportunity to drive Aboriginal employment and training in Wiluna, while kick-starting an important piece of infrastructure for the region.
“Our Government is absolutely committed to driving local jobs through government projects, and this model presents a new way of capturing the most value for our regional communities.”
As stated by Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Kyle McGinn:
“This is a project that successive governments have not been able to get off the ground for various reasons – we need to think outside the box.
“This innovative pilot project can at least make a start from a grassroots level, which will hopefully evolve into something much more. Given the benefits the road will have to mining areas and industry, we will see what we can do to get other stakeholders to help.
“Locals, industry and tourists often take huge detours to avoid this road, and it’s my hope that will change through this pilot project.”