Funds approved for Gulf of Carpentaria road upgrade

Media Release

WT349/2015

29 October 2015

Joint release with:

Barnaby Joyce

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

Around 7 kilometres of the Gregory-Lawn Hill Road in the Gulf of Carpentaria will be sealed thanks to $1.5 million in Australian Government funding.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said property owners, heavy vehicle operators and tourists visiting Burke Shire will all benefit from the upgrade

“These sealing works are being funded under the Australian Government's $35 million Drought Communities Programme and will improve accessibility and safety,” Mr Truss said.

“The works will benefit local residents, tourism operators and local businesses, including a number of cattle stations, all of which are vital to the region's economic stability and growth. What's more, the funding will be used by Burke Shire contractors who do it as tough as anyone during periods of drought and associated economic downturn.

“This is another example of how our Drought Communities Programme is investing in projects to help stimulate communities affected by drought, including through the creation of jobs and economic activity for local businesses.”

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said improving access for heavy vehicles on Gregory–Lawn Hill Road will provide economic and safety benefits whilst also delivering much needed and well-targeted stimulus to the local economy.

“We are investing $100 million in improving key northern Australia cattle roads, delivering badly needed upgrades to key infrastructure for the northern beef industry,” Mr Joyce said.

“Once this project is completed, road freight operators will be able to use the road for a greater portion of the year. It will also allow easier access to those cattle stations following rain, improved safety for vehicles and reduced road and vehicle maintenance costs. Sealing this road will also significantly improve access for other traffic, including tourists, throughout the year.

“Importantly, this project will provide employment for 12 people who will go on to spend money in the community, buying from local shops and in this way supporting other businesses and boosting the economy while regions manage the ongoing impact of drought.

“We are committed to making sure people can stay in rural communities until the drought breaks, and we are delivering a range of measures to assist farmers and their families who are experiencing hardship.”

The works are expected to be undertaken during next year's dry season—April to November 2016.

For more information about the Drought Communities Programme go to http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/dcp/index.aspx. To see what other drought support measures are available, please visit http://agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance