Article – Tanami Road picked as priority for north

15 September 2014
Rachael Andrews
Farm Weekly
TANAMI Road as been identified as a priority for an upgrade by the group charged with driving the development of northern Australia.
The priority listing puts Halls Creek Shire’s efforts to gain funding in the most promising position so far.
Pivot North, the report produced by Federal parliamentarians following months of on-ground work, will advise the Federal Government in creating a white paper on northern Australian development options to be released later this year.
Durack MP Melissa Price, who was involved with the production of Pivot North, said WA would benefit economically, culturally and socially from several priorities listed in the report.
She said sealing the Tanami Road would improve tourism access, provide a connector route for freight and offer the potential for agricultural development and more mining opportunities in the Pilbara.
As well as highlighting road upgrades in WA, Pivot North pinpointed power access in the Pilbara as a hindrance to further developing the region.
“Power access is a bit of a handbrake on development, this is something we’ve identified and we need to make it easier for those looking to use the region to access this vital service,” Ms Price said.
“This is a key recommendation that needs the co-operation of the Australian and WA governments.”
Halls Creek Shire economic development manager Matthew Hobson said the shire was pleased the Tanami Road was identified as a priority.
He said in the coming weeks it would submit a business case for the development of a 1000 kilometre stretch between Halls Creek and Alice Springs which is unsealed and sometimes impassable.
Freight is then forced to travel north to Katherine from Alice Springs or via the Nullarbor, routes which are 1100km and 3000km longer respectively.
Ms Price said the identification of priorities for developing northern Australia would have a drip-feed effect, leading to a more simplified process for those wanting to develop the region.
“We can’t all live in cities and we need to encourage people to live in rural areas and the north,” she said.
“However, there are obstacles that have previously blocked this from readily occurring and we are addressing this through this report.”
Tanami Road has been identified as a priority for sealing in a Federal Government report.
Courtesy of Farm Weekly