LETTER: Bid for Outback Highway money

Sir – The Outback Highway Development Council Inc. completed its $14.9m funding application for Round 4 Regional Development Australia – Regional Development Infrastructure Fund, to upgrade and seal priority sections of the Outback Way, 2800km between Laverton WA and Winton in Qld, linking Perth to Qld as a trans-national link.

 

The funding will increase economic viability of roadhouses and tourism operations in the west, as the last sections of road that closes in minimal wet and dry will be sealed. This increased reliability of the road will add enormous value to tourism and freight companies.

 

In Central Australia, Docker river community will have sealed access to their airport, vital in times of flood, for emergency health care and supplies, and there worst sand dune section will also be upgraded. On the Plenty highway 6km will be upgraded to a formed gravel road instead of being below ground surface.

 

The Plenty Highway is a critical beef road in the NT and currently up to 7 B doubles per day are traversing the Plenty with stock movement through to Queensland properties and sale yards, adding enormous pressure onto the Donohue Highway (Tobermorey to Boulia section), which is a shire road, yet the incoming cattle are bolstering the livestock, associated industries and state economy.

 

Boulia Shire, who do a lot with a very small rate base, are seeking emergency funds to keep the Donohue Highway safe and trafficable, and in the longer term, they have a transfer plan for the road to the Queensland State Government.

 

The Outback Way is a cross border, cross region project  that  will genuinely stimulate economic growth, for WA, NT and Queensland, three RDA regions, seven shires, seven towns and 13 indigenous communities along the route. It is the epitome of a regional development project.

 

The sealed and upgraded sections of the Outback Way being sort in this RDA funding round will also have an enormous impact on community development with better health care, education and community cohesion opportunities. A weatherproof road makes continuity of freight deliveries and services possible, improving business potential, tourism opportunities, and quality of life for the people who live  in these remote communities.

 

Patrick Hill

Chairman,

Outback Highway Development Council Inc

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