$24.5 Million for Outback Roads

Media Release

WT034/2014

11 March 2014

Joint release with:

Scott Emerson

QLD Minister for Transport and Main Roads

Bruce Scott

Federal Member for Maranoa

Vaughan Johnson

QLD Member for Gregory

Australia's legendary Outback Way will receive a major boost as part of a $24.5 million road funding agreement between local, state and federal governments.

Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss and Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson met with local mayors and MPs in Boulia today to sign off on the package to improve some of Queensland's most remote roads.

“The Australian Government will provide $11 million to upgrade the Queensland section of the Outback Way to complement the Remote Area Planning and Development Board proposal,” Mr Truss said.

“We will work with the Outback Highway Development Council and the Queensland Government to settle the priority works to be undertaken with the funding.

“The funding fulfils a Coalition election promise and is designed to unlock the potential benefits of outback roads to the Queensland and Australian economy, particularly for tourism, mining and freight.”

The Outback Way runs from Laverton in Western Australia through the Northern Territory to Winton in Queensland, providing vital access to many remote indigenous communities across the centre of Australia.

“It's great to see further development on the Queensland end of the Outback Way, which is one of the great tourist drives in Australia,” Mr Emerson said.

“This funding is also for local roads across seven local government areas, providing crucial work to keep Western Queensland road crews working in drought hit areas.

“These roads are a lifeline for these regional communities and I'm pleased that we've been able to deliver this package so quickly.”

The funding arrangement includes $21 million split between the state and Federal governments and $3.5 million from the seven local councils.

Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott said the Australian Government funding would particularly target sections of the Outback Way from Boulia to the Northern Territory border.

“This funding will significantly improve tourism and the beef industry by opening up a national corridor to reduce transport costs and attract additional tourism revenue from the west,” Mr Scott said.

“The Federal Government will be working in partnership with the Outback Highway Development Council Incorporated and state and local governments to ensure the Outback Way remains a useful trans-national link across the heart of Australia.”

In total, the Australian Government has committed $33 million nationally to the upgrade of the Outback Way.

Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson said an increase in adventure based tourism had caused road usage to triple in the last three years.

“This investment is about improving access to our remote communities and increasing the prosperity of these regions,” said Mr Johnson said.

“Planning work will now get underway to determine the other regional roads to be targeted with the funding.”

The funding will be spent across the Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council and Winton Shire Council was a testament to the willingness of all levels of government to work together.