Funding to support vital Northern Territory roads under Northern Australia Roads Programme

Media Release

DC121/2016

20 September 2016

Joint release with:

Barnaby Joyce

Acting Prime Minister Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

Nicole Manison

NT Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister

  • Almost $8 million to seal 8.4km of an unsealed section of Tjukaruru Road
  • $20 million to upgrade sections of unsealed sections of the Plenty Highway to a two-lane sealed standard, including flood immunity works, as well as sealing further sections of the highway
  • Almost $40 million for upgrades of the Keep River Plains Road to support Project Sea Dragon and the development of Ord Stage 3
  • More than $62 million to upgrade the Arnhem Highway, to improve flood immunity at the Adelaide River floodplain
  • More than $360 million is being rolled out for new road upgrade projects in northern Australia, with $130 million being invested in the first four Northern Australia Roads Programme projects in the Northern Territory

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said the objective of the Northern Australian Roads Programme was to fund high-priority projects essential to support the North's economic development.

“The Australian Government has worked with the northern jurisdictions to identify priority projects to support economic development and regional communities, making it easier for people and freight to travel vast distances,” Minister Joyce said.

“We're unlocking the significant untapped potential of the north which will benefit the region and the national economy.”

Other allocations under this round include more than $140 million for roads in Queensland and almost $90 million for roads in Western Australia.

The projects are jointly funded by the Australian and Northern Territory governments on an 80:20 funding arrangement.

Comments by: Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester

“The funding will improve the safety and reliability of critical routes and support economic growth in the nation's north,” Minister Chester said.

“Approximately $28 million of this initial Australian Government funding will help seal unsealed sections of the Outback Way—popularly known as ‘Australia's longest shortcut’—along Tjukaruru Road and the Plenty Highway, to reduce wet season closures and weight restrictions.

“Australian Government funding of almost $40 million will also be allocated to upgrading a section of the Keep River Road, which will support the potential development of Project Sea Dragon and Ord Stage 3.

“More than $62 million of Australian Government funding will also be allocated to flood-proofing the Adelaide River Floodplain on the Arnhem Highway, servicing towns and communities around Arnhem Land and allowing tourists to access Kakadu National Park.”

Comments by: Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister for the Northern Territory Chief Minister, Nicole Manison

“The roads targeted are key routes for Territory communities,” Minister Manison said.

“The Outback Way provides a strategic east-west link across central Australia and is a critical connection for the resources industry, agriculture, tourism and local communities. The Plenty Highway, which is part of the Outback Way, has been identified by the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association as a key road for cattle industry growth in Central Australia.

“The Keep River Road upgrade is of serious local importance—by supporting proposed infrastructure projects such as Project Sea Dragon and Ord Stage 3 it has the potential to stimulate economic development and population growth.

“The Adelaide River Floodplain is notorious in the Top End for wet season closures. This project will provide all-weather access across the 5.3km floodplain for the extractive industries, tourism, defence as well as Territorians in Arnhem Land.”

Comments by: Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matthew Canavan

“Australia's north has vast potential for economic growth to benefit both local communities and the national economy,” Senator Canavan said.

“As we put in place our comprehensive plan for the region through initiatives in the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, we'll continue to identify new projects that will further enhance the liveability and productivity of northern Australia.”