Sealing the Ootann Road for a ROSI ride

The Morrison Government is investing a further $5.92 million to build on previous upgrades of the Ootann Road, a key freight route in North Queensland, to improve safety, reduce travel times and keep communities connected year-round.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said Ootann Road is a strategic freight corridor that connects northern Australia with key markets in the south, supporting the growth and prosperity of a range of local businesses including in agriculture, mining and tourism.

“This road is well used by truckies, is a vital connection for local communities and allows tourists to come up and experience what this beautiful region has to offer,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“That’s why I am pleased to announce the Australian Government is committing a further $5.92 million to improve the safety and year-round access of this vital connection.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the upgrade formed part of a broader $50 million investment to upgrade the Cairns to Northern Territory corridor under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

“ROSI projects improve the safety and quality of critical freight routes to keep regional industries connected to local and international markets, better connect regional communities, and unlock social and economic benefits such as greater business growth and employment,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.

“I have personally experienced the unsealed sections of the Ootann Road, as a former transport operator they were some of the roughest, harshest road conditions I have ever experienced, I am pleased we are partnering with local government to build a better Ootann and improve this important freight road.

“Following the tireless advocacy of local mayors and former Mayor Tom Gilmore, the Ootann Road has been placed on the national agenda and under the Morrison Government is attracting significant investment and this new ROSI funding will mean $7.4 million in investment, split 80:20 with local government.

“Our Government has committed a total of $904 million to upgrade seven key road corridors in Queensland over 10-years under the ROSI program, to make a significant difference for freight and motorists in the state.”

Mayor of Tablelands Regional Council Rod Marti said the latest round of funding is critical to ensure access during the wet season.

“The unsealed sections of Ootann Road are prone to flooding, which is currently preventing year-round use of the route and posing a barrier to business and economic growth,” Mayor Marti said.

“This project will weather-proof the road, reducing the need for road closures and load limits during the wet season and making it more reliable for freight, locals and tourists.”

Mayor of Mareeba Shire Council Angela Toppin said the investment would come as welcome news to local communities.

“Widening and sealing the road has been a priority of ours for years, and Council is proud to be investing in this project with the help of the Australian Government to make it happen,” Mayor Toppin said.

“I can’t wait for works to get underway, which will support jobs in the short term while delivering lasting improvements that will enhance freight productivity and lower ongoing maintenance costs in the long run.”

$4.08 million in upgrades along Ootann Road in the Tablelands Region will be jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Tablelands Regional Council in an 80:20 split.

$3.32 million in upgrades along Ootann Road in Mareeba Shire will be jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Mareeba Shire Council in an 80:20 split.

The latest round of funding will deliver upgrades that include pavement widening and sealing works to a nine-metre seal width, building on previous investments completed under the Northern Australia Beef Roads program. For more information on the Australian Government’s Roads of Strategic Importance initiative, visit https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/roads-of-strategic-importance.aspx.

Media contacts:

Deputy Prime Minister – Antony Perry | 0477 971 654 | Antony.Perry@infrastructure.gov.au

Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell | 0413 424 384 | Scott.O'Connell@aph.gov.au

Mayor Marti – Office (08) 4089 2396

Mayor Toppin – Office (07) 4086 4659