Centre poor cousin in road funding


Central Australia is getting merely crumbs off the table in “a significant investment in bush roads across the Territory” by the Federal and NT Governments.
Malarndirri McCarthy, NT Minister for Regional Development, and Warren Snowdon, Member for Lingiari, announced today they would be committing $16m and $90m, respectively, to a “new Regional Roads Productivity Package” to “encourage growth and development in a number of communities and local industries”.
The slice of that for Central Australia will be for “upgrading the gravel condition of priority sections” – no lengths or costs disclosed – of the Santa Teresa Way whose total length is about 70 kms.
All other “identified projects” are in the Top End:
• Roper Highway, causeways and associated works, targeted strengthening and widening;
• Port Keats Road, targeted sealing and flood immunity improvements;
• Central Arnhem Road, construction of a new bridge over Rocky Bottom Creek;
• Buntine Highway, targeted strengthening, widening and sealing works; and
• Arnhem Link Road, upgrading the gravel condition of priority sections;
The Northern Territory Government will fully scope the projects to determine which sections of these roads to prioritise and what work needs to be done, the media release says.
“These regional roads are major arteries connecting and providing access to communities, supporting tourism, the cattle and resources sector as well as improving the economic opportunities for Territorians living in remote areas,” Ms McCarthy is quoted.
“Along with our investment into our Territory Growth Towns this is about growing our regional economies and creating more jobs in the bush.”
Mr Snowdon is quoted as saying: “The investment in regional roads is a win not only for unlocking economic opportunities but also for improving access to essential services.
“This new funding is in addition to the unprecedented $635.6 million the Federal Labor Government is providing under the current six-year Nation Building Program (2008-09 to 2013-14) to rebuild and renew the Territory’s road infrastructure.”


  1. Further to your article on the ‘centre being the poor cousin in road funding’ following are some road related issues that may need to be addressed by a new incoming NT Government:
    Compared to Darwin’s main arterial roads, which are mostly four lanes; is the Stuart Highway through Alice Springs sub-standard and in need of upgrading?
    Does either main party have plans or policies to upgrade the Stuart Highway through Alice Springs to four lanes?
    With restraints such as sacred sites and physical features such as Heavitree Gap, is it possible to build a four lane highway through Alice?
    Is there a need to build a ring road or railroad around Alice Springs to avoid bottlenecks such as Heavitree Gap and the railway crossings?
    Wouldn’t a ring road or railway mitigate any potential threat or danger to the people of Alice Springs from a potential hazardous material transport incident?
    The northern entry into Alice through a dusty industrial area is in need of an upgrade; to save money maybe this could be done in conjunction with any work associated with the Bunning’s development if it should goes ahead.


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