Safer, smoother roads, jobs boost with APY Lands access upgrade

Media Release


21 April 2015

Joint release with:

Stephen Mullighan

SA Minister for Transport and Infrastructure

A $106 million upgrade to access roads in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands will provide a jobs boost for indigenous people in the APY lands.

The joint State and Federal Government project will upgrade about 210 kilometres of unsealed road connecting the Stuart Highway with towns such as Pukatja, Iwantja, Mimili and Fregon.

Assistant Federal Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs said 21 kilometres of community access roads are also being upgraded.

“This project not only delivers a key piece of infrastructure for remote indigenous communities, it will also help to cut the costs of service delivery which are disproportionately high compared with other remote communities in Australia,” Mr Briggs said.

“The existing road is highly corrugated and frequently floods meaning it can become impassable, hindering access for emergency services, damaging vehicles and contributing to a high rate of accidents.”

South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said the project would provide safer access to a number of APY communities.

“Every day up to 100 vehicles travel the road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja, and since 2009 there have been 36 casualties from 23 crashes on the road,” he said.

“We know that Aboriginal people are three times more likely to die on our roads than non-indigenous people and improving the condition of roads in remote indigenous communities can only help to reduce that figure.”

The project is part of the Regional Partnership Agreement and combines $85 million in Federal Government funding with $21.25 million from the State Government.

South Australian Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Kyam Maher visited the APY Lands last week and discussed the road upgrade with community leaders.

“The communities in the APY Lands are very excited about this project which will help service providers to deliver their services in a more effective and timely manner, and will generate important job and training opportunities for young Aboriginal people,” he said.

“The government has committed to ensuring that at least 30 percent of the total labour hours spent on the project will be undertaken by the local Anangu people.

“This will include training placements and we are also looking at ways to continue the employment of the Anangu into the future through the ongoing maintenance of the road.”