$40 Million Buntine Highway Upgrade well underway in Northern Australia

Further upgrades to one of the Northern Territory's high-priority cattle routes has started, following the start of construction for Package 1 in June.

The contract for the delivery of the second package of works on the Buntine Highway has been awarded to Aldebaran Contracting.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said upgrades, funded through the $600 million Northern Australia Roads Program (NARP) would improve road quality, safety and efficiency through pavement strengthening and widening.

“The Buntine Highway is a major transport link and these upgrades will significantly benefit the region's cattle industry, with around 15 pastoral stations relying heavily on the Buntine Highway to get their cattle to Darwin,” Mr McCormack said.

“These targeted upgrades will decrease maintenance costs, as well as reduce flood-related closures, travel times and load restrictions during the wet season, making these welcome improvements for the cattle industry which is so central to the North's prosperity.”

Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion said the upgrade of the Buntine Highway demonstrated the Australian Government's commitment to improving road quality and connectivity in Northern Australia.

“The priority sections identified for upgrading have been developed in close consultation with key stakeholders including the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association and the Northern Territory Road Transport Association,” Senator Scullion said.

“This will ensure the project delivers the maximum benefits in terms of safety and productivity.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the Australian Government had invested $32 million towards the $40 million Buntine Highway Road Upgrading project through the NARP.

“This is a key road for the beef industry, with upwards of 250,000 cattle transported along the route every year. It is a pipeline of productivity in terms of jobs and prosperity for the region and the entire nation,” Minister Canavan said.

“Our investment in this project shows how the NARP is supporting economic development and job creation in the North and builds on other investments, such as the previous $10 million upgrade to the Buntine Highway under the Northern Territory Regional Roads Productivity Package completed in mid-2017.”

Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said the Buntine Highway investment would provide major benefits industry and support jobs for Territorians.

“The current poor condition of the Buntine Highway and the limited year-round heavy vehicle access significantly impacts on the Territory's key industries and the delivery of important services,” Ms Lawler said.

“This upgrade will play a critical role in meeting the growing demand for beef exports, will support growth in cattle production across the Victoria River and Kimberley districts and support more than 30 jobs for Territorians during construction.”

The Australian Government has committed $32 million towards the $40 million upgrade in partnership with the Northern Territory Government who has contributed $8 million.