Commonly known as Australia’s longest shortcut, the Outback Way runs from Winton in Queensland to Laverton in Western Australia – effectively cutting through the heart of central Australia.
This legendary roadway is the focus of a $24.5 million funding commitment shared between local, state and federal governments. In particular, the Queensland section of this iconic shortcut is set to receive more than $21 million in a joint investment.
“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 (RAPDB) proposal,” Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss explained in a March 11 media release.
This is in addition to $10 million invested by the state government and $3.5 million put forward by seven local councils, all of which make up the RAPDB community. Each of the seven councils has committed $500,000 towards the project.
“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,” said Mr Truss.
Upgrading this road is also an important step in improving access to some of Queensland and Australia’s most remote Indigenous communities.
“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,” Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott 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.”
Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott has welcomed the funding announcement, eager for road improvements to reach 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,” he explained.
Altogether, the Australian government has invested $33 million in recent upgrades of the Outback Way. This is encouraging news for tourists and those working in agriculture, transport and civil works.
Currently, a majority of the Outback Way is unsealed and vulnerable to rough weather. This new funding commitment is expected to improve conditions along the Queensland sections of the road to reduce the risk of damage from flooding and heavy vehicle traffic.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator