29 May, 2020
Further progress on Outback Way in Queensland
WORKS to widen another section of the Outback Way have started as part of a major upgrade. After widening more than 17km between Winton and Boulia, crews have begun work to widen an extra five kilometres between the two outback towns.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and
Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the works were part of a broader
upgrade program under way.
“The Australian Government is investing $330 million to improve key sections of the Outback Way, the 2,800-kilometre route linking Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland via Alice Springs in the Northern Territory,” Mr McCormack said.
“We understand the importance of the Outback Way in supporting freight and tourism industries, as it provides a continuous east-west link across a significant section of central Australia.
“Since 2013-14, the Australian Government has committed $65.7 million in Queensland alone for upgrades which are delivering significant improvements to targeted sections of the road.
“We are continuing to roll out our record $100 billion infrastructure investment pipeline to build the foundations for recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the current package of upgrades included five separate projects which, when completed, would see more than 90 per cent of the Outback Way in Queensland sealed.
“Each of the five projects are in varying delivery stages and focus on safety and productivity improvements, such as road widening and sealing,” Mr Bailey said.
“Sealing was completed for 18km between Boulia and Tobermorey in May last year. Crews also recently finished widening 17km between Winton and Boulia.
“Currently, work is under way to seal an additional 25km between Boulia and Tobermorey, and to widen five extra kilometres between Winton and Boulia, while one remaining project is currently in design.”
Mr Bailey said the projects would also contribute positively to local communities during a challenging time.
“We are committed to keeping Queensland moving and investing in the community during this difficult period,” Mr Bailey said.
“Council workforces and local contractors benefit from these contracts and this is about making sure regional communities can depend on a strong pipeline of work.
“Importantly, the two projects currently underway will support about 31 direct jobs at a time when they're most needed.”
Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said the investment in the Outback Way would improve access for remote and Indigenous communities to health and social services.
“I visited Boulia late last year and Government support for road maintenance throughout that part of the state was one of the main points of my meeting with Mayor Rick Britton, so this will be a welcome boost,” Senator McDonald said.
“By improving access to health and services, these upgrades will improve standards of living and equity for Indigenous communities.
“Upgrades to the Kennedy Developmental Road have an important role to play in unlocking the potential of our supply chains and tourist routes in Central Outback Queensland.”
Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton said he understood the value of road projects to local communities and the local economy.
“The upgrades being delivered to the Outback Way will reduce travel times for all road users, decrease costs for freight operators and limit road closures,” Cr Britton said.
“The upgrades will also open the door for greater access across the region, enhancing opportunities for industry while better linking our communities with essential services.”
The Australian Government is contributing more than $21 million to deliver the five projects, with the Queensland Government committing about $3.6 million and Boulia Shire Council about $1.6 million.