A fully sealed Outback Way will deliver economic and social benefits for the Northern Goldfields and Central Desert.
Member for Kalgoorlie Wendy Duncan and Candidate for Kalgoorlie Tony Crook visited Laverton this week – the starting point of the 2,800km Outback Way – to attend a General Meeting regarding the road’s future.
Mr Crook said the project had recently received a funding commitment of $100 million from the Federal Government to fully seal the highway, however some State Government funding would be required to ensure the WA component of the project is delivered.
Mr Crook said he would seek up to $20 million from the State Government to be utilised towards the project.
“This is a great opportunity for WA to leverage Federal funding and be a part of this significant project,” Mr Crook said.
“By putting our own money on the table, we can ensure this project gets off the ground and delivers benefits for WA. We know Federal funds are available and we should make the most of that opportunity.”
Ms Duncan said developing the Outback Way would deliver “greater access and greater opportunities” for communities living in the Northern Goldfields and Central Desert.
“The Outback Way provides a fundamentally important link for remote Aboriginal communities – providing essential access to health and education, as well as an important freight link for the delivery of food and supplies to these communities,” Ms Duncan said.
Mr Crook said the region’s economic potential was also growing, with the development of mining projects such as the Gold Road Resources Yamarna Project and nickel projects in the Central Musgrave Ranges.
“Resource projects like these will see greater heavy-vehicle traffic between Laverton and remote communities. If done right, this could be a major economic driver for the region.”
Cultural opportunities and tourism opportunities also existed on the Outback Way.
“The demand for unique and culturally aware Indigenous tourism experiences is growing and the path between WA and Alice Springs would make for an amazing tourism experience,” Mr Crook said.
“The Outback Way would halve the distance between Perth and Alice Springs, making this trip much more viable for tourists who want to explore this amazing area of Australia.”
Ms Duncan and Mr Crook said the opportunity to leverage Federal funding to develop the Outback Way was “too good to miss.”
“The Nationals have a track record of working with our Federal counterparts to deliver for regional WA – with projects like the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme having a greater impact in WA because it has partnered with Royalties for Regions,” Ms Duncan said.
Mr Crook said he would write to Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Darren Chester and Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman to highlight the importance of the project for WA and determine any funding avenues available.