Road upgrades to Queensland’s Outback Way are now underway, with 70km of works starting on high priority areas to improve safety and efficiency.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said works on the first of five upgrade packages, worth a total of about $21 million in Australian Government funding, had started.
“Right around the country the Liberal and Nationals’ Government is investing in our roads to help ensure people can get home sooner and safer, as well as boosting productivity, especially in rural and regional Australia,” Mr McCormack said.
“The first project will widen and seal about 18km of the Donohue Highway between Boulia and Tobermorey in central-west Queensland.
“These works will improve the inter-jurisdictional transport network, cut costs for freight operators and enhance economic opportunities for the cattle, mining and tourism industries which is why the Australian Government has pledged another $160 million in funding for the Outback Way as part of this year’s Federal Budget. This brings the total Australian Government commitment to Outback Way to $330 million.”
Queensland Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, said the works between Boulia and Tobermorey would deliver a safer, more reliable stretch of road for motorists in the short term.
“Following the completion of all five projects, being delivered as part of the Australian Government’s $100 million 2016 Election Commitment, less than 10 per cent of the Outback Way in Queensland will remain unsealed,” Senator Canavan said.
“Freight and livestock operations as well as outback tourism will be the biggest beneficiaries as more of this key route is sealed by mid-2021 through these five projects.”
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, and Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said the upgrades along roads including the Diamantina and Kennedy Developmental Roads will mean local business can get their goods to market quickly and reliably.
“These upgrades will reduce business costs and improve road safety,” Mr Littleproud said.
“This iconic road starts in Winton in my electorate, and links up to Laverton in Western Australia—via Alice Springs—and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. These upgrades will help connect regional Queensland to other parts of the nation,” Mr Littleproud said.
Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton said upgrading the Outback Way would improve regional infrastructure and better support rural communities.
“Along the full length of the Outback Way, from Winton in Queensland to Laverton in Western Australia, via the Northern Territory, there are 36 Indigenous communities,” Mr Britton said.
Upgrading these sections of the Outback Way will give peace of mind to the communities and industries which rely on this road for access to essential services such as health and education, market access, as well as employment opportunities for mining, agriculture and tourism.
“The project now underway represents 24 per cent of Boulia Shire’s workforce.”
The Australian Government committed up to $100 million to deliver 13 priority projects across the Outback Way as part of its 2016 Election commitment, with five projects located in Queensland.
The project now underway between Boulia and Tobermorey is receiving $5 million from the Australian Government with Boulia Shire Council contributing a further $1.25 million.