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The Nationals WA Candidate for O’Connor John Hassell and Senate Candidate Kado Muir have welcomed a funding pledge made by Leader of The Nationals Barnaby Joyce to provide $100 million towards the Outback Way.
Mr Hassell said the funding would allow “Australia’s Longest Shortcut” to be fully sealed.
“The Outback Way is a 2,800km road stretching from Laverton in WA through to Winton in Queensland, with approximately 1,700kms of that road being unsealed,” Mr Hassell said.
“A fully sealed Outback Way will provide a national link between Perth and Cairns, providing access and opportunities for remote communities as well as the mining, tourism and pastoral sectors; linking transport hubs; and reducing the East-West connection by around 1,600kms.”
Senate Candidate Kado Muir said the road provided an important link for many Aboriginal communities.
“The Outback Way provides a fundamentally important link for remote Aboriginal communities. It provides essential access to health and education, as well as an important freight connection for the delivery of food and supplies to remote communities,” Mr Muir said.
“There is also an important synergy between Aboriginal tourism, with a tourism trail supporting the development of Aboriginal arts and crafts, cultural awareness, bush foods and other forms of Aboriginal tourism.
“This investment into the Outback Way will deliver essential infrastructure for some of Australia’s most remote communities and create new opportunities for the region.”
Mr Hassell said as well as providing one of Australia’s most unique and adventurous tourism experiences, a fully-sealed Outback Way would have important and immediate economic benefits.
“We’re already seeing mining and freight opportunities arising from the Outback Way, and a fully-sealed Outback Way will deliver even greater investment to these regions and provide much needed jobs on country,” Mr Hassell said.
“Metals X have just received environmental approval to develop a major nickel mine in the Central Musgrave Ranges, on the border of WA, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
“This area is one of the largest undeveloped nickel accumulations in the world, and could produce more than 40,000 tonnes of nickel each year – worth more than $300 million - transported along the Outback Way.”
Mr Hassell praised the work of Member for Kalgoorlie Wendy Duncan, candidate for Kalgoorlie Tony Crook and Laverton community members who had worked hard behind the scenes to secure the funding commitment.
“If elected on July 2, we will work very closely with our State and Federal Nationals colleagues to ensure this $100 million campaign promise is delivered upon.”