Green light for North West Coastal Highway upgrade

Media Release


25 August 2014

Joint release with:

The Hon. Sen. Mathias Cormann

Minister for Finance
Senator for Western Australia

Melissa Price MP

Federal Member for Durack

The Australian Government is getting on with building the infrastructure for the 21st century without a jobs and investment destroying mining tax with today's approval of up to $174 million in funding towards upgrades to the North West Coastal Highway.

The highway upgrade will involve a combination of widening and overlay works for a 130 kilometre stretch between Minilya and Barradale.

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said the much needed upgrade will boost the productive capacity and economic performance of the highway which is the main link between Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha and Port Hedland.

“The mining industry contributes 29 per cent of Western Australia's gross state product and 16 per cent of Australia's overall gross domestic product.

“With new mining developments in the Northern Gascoyne and Western Pilbara, traffic has grown significantly in recent years, and is forecast to continue growing by six per cent per annum.

“Upgrading this major freight route to a world class standard is essential to supporting ongoing economic growth and driving further investment in the Western Australian mining industry.”

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the project will strengthen the road surface in places where it's inadequate and provide a 10 metre road width.

“These works will address the problems associated with predicted traffic growth, including heavy vehicles, and safety concerns, due to the age of the road and its narrow seal width. The works will improve freight efficiency and reduce freight costs by improving access for the local farming area and the growing resources areas in the north-west.

“The project will also build two bridges over low-level floodway crossings at Cave Creek and Goodeman Creek between Barradale and Nanutarra.”

Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the Government is committed to investing in transport infrastructure projects, which support growth of the resources and agricultural sectors in Western Australia.

“This section of highway carries 500 vehicles every day with more than 37 per cent being heavy vehicles, and this number is expected to grow in the years ahead.

“This project will improve the efficiency and safety of freight transport in north Western Australia, as well as provide improved access for regional communities.”

Construction is expected to begin on the North West Coastal Highway in October 2014, and the bridges are expected to start early next year.

The Australian Government has committed up to $174 million to the project, sourced from its Infrastructure Investment Programme. The Western Australian Government will fund the remaining $44 million.