The Australian Government has committed $100 million towards 13 high priority upgrade projects on the Outback Way.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the funding delivered on the Coalition’s 2016 election commitment to upgrade the 2,700km route crossing Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“Around 210km of Outback Way will be sealed and widened by mid-2021, including 182km which is currently unsealed,” Mr Chester said.

“This is a major investment in a significant project, which will deliver substantial long-term benefits to every community it touches and the national economy.

“A safer and more efficient Outback Way will be a major boost to the tourism sector, businesses and remote communities that rely on the route as their key link across the north, and we have worked closely with northern jurisdictions and key stakeholders to identify each priority section requiring upgrading.

“The 13 projects approved today have been identified as the highest priority sections across the route.

“The works to be undertaken will improve the reliability of the Outback Way, reduce travel times and costs to freight operators and improve access across the region while reducing the risk of accidents.

Mr Chester said the Coalition Government is committed to ensuring these upgrades start as soon as possible to give communities and businesses the transport infrastructure they need to thrive.

“Around $38 million will be invested in three projects in the Shire of Laverton, to upgrade more than 60km of road, and a further $8.5 million will go to two projects which will deliver nearly 20km of priority sealing works in the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku,” Mr Chester said.

“This is a signature investment by the Australian Government under our $100 million commitment to help upgrade more than 210km of the iconic Outback Way.”

Federal Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson, said the Great Central Road upgrades would help unlock the potential benefits that flow from better connectivity for Indigenous and remote communities, as well as grow the Australian economy.

“These works are set to improve road reliability, reduce travel times, cut costs for freight operators, and enhance economic opportunities for regional and remote communities and for Australian industries. Completing this work will also deliver huge benefits for the local mining and tourism industries — this project is an investment in the economic future of the Goldfields,” Mr Wilson said.

“Our WA projects were identified following a review of the Outback Way that informed where the government’s funding should be invested. Every dollar will help deliver benefits for the industries and communities which use this key east-west route to access economic opportunities and essential services.”

Construction on the 13 Outback Way projects across the three northern jurisdictions of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland will be delivered progressively over the coming years.

The Australian Government has committed up to $100 million to the upgrades, with the relevant state and territory governments, and local councils contributing the remaining 20 per cent required for each project, totalling $25 million.

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