Article – Northern Australia plan overdue: WA Premier Colin Barnett

18 June 2015
WA Today

The federal government’s grand vision for unlocking the potential of Australia’s north has been applauded by WA Premier Colin Barnett, who says action is long overdue.

The $5 billion infrastructure fund was announced in the federal budget last month.
On Thursday following the release of the Commonwealth’s white paper on the ambitious plan, Mr Barnett said a big focus would rightly be road projects.

He particularly welcomed the Northern Territory push to seal the Tanami Road, which runs from Halls Creek to Alice Springs.

“We would support that,” Mr Barnett told parliament.

“That would connect the Balgo Aboriginal community, which I think is one of the largest and is isolated for several months of the year.”

It would be an expensive project but could be done in stages, he said.

Mr Barnett earlier told reporters he was also particularly keen for a new a road from Broome to One Arm Point, running through the Dampier Peninsula.

“If the Commonwealth was able to assist the state with that, that would do a lot to stimulate tourism.”

The Liberal leader said new roads and bridge crossings would be needed in the expanded Ord River agricultural scheme.

He previously said he supported increasing the storage capacity of the Ord River dam.

Mr Barnett also supported the expansion of Australia’s seasonal worker program, saying the East Timorese government had indicated it was keen for its citizens to be employed in WA’s north, where there is a short supply of local labour.

PHOTO: The Tanami Road, which runs from Halls Creek to Alice Springs.

Courtesy of WA Today

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