LETTER: Breathing new life into the Tanami Desert


Sir – On May 27 a team of eight set off with the Tanami Action Group from Halls Creek down the Tanami Road to Alice Springs.
Rocky Sutherland from Kununurra joined the team to photograph the many tourist attractions for a new brochure to be produced by the Halls Creek Visitor Centre.
Australian Frisbee Champion and surveyor Chris Finn shared his love of Frisbee and the new sport of disc golf with communities while recording elements of the road such as distance, attractions and services.
Leigh Coleman, CEO of Many Rivers Microfinance was impressed by the business opportunities waiting along the Tanami Road and is looking forward to working with many budding entrepreneurs to develop the local economy.
Katelyn Hegarty of Roadwise audited the road from a road safety perspective to prepare a report making suggestions to improve road safety and reduce the number of accidents along its length.
On board were Adventure Productions, a film crew who specialises in remote filming.
They were given the responsibility of producing a documentary about the Tanami Road and the people who live along it.
The team interviewed cattle stations, residents of Aboriginal communities, grader drivers, truck drivers and miners to find out what was the impact of the Tanami Road being in such poor condition.
Some of the stories shared were exceptionally moving including the Billiluna football team needing a new bus every football season because the road destroys it; traditional owners Veronica, Bessie and Anne in Mulan refusing to travel by road after seeing so many family members die in car accidents on the Tanami forcing them to use expensive plane flights when they need to visit doctors; and a young husband and wife being stranded beside the road for eight hours with their new born baby after the corrugations on the road snapped off the wheel studs on their Landcruiser wagon.
The trip had been an eye opener: Before we left on the trip to film the Tanami Road we had understood that our task was to seal the road.
Now we understand that our task is to deliver economic, social and employment opportunities to people along the Tanami and throughout the Kimberley.
The Tanami Road will now be a fantastic by product of the real project to improve lives for families for generations to come.
The support to have the road sealed was overwhelming.  The documentary will now be taken to Canberra at the end of June to show to politicians in an attempt to secure funding to seal and upgrade the road.
Lara Wilde
Tanami Action Group
PO Box 18, Halls Creek WA 6770


  1. Lara Wilde will be providing a presentation to stakeholders and interested parties on 12th June in the offices of the Chamber of Commerce from 5.30pm. The presentation will outline a study of the economic impact the sealing of this road will have. The Tanami Action Group are lobbying the federal government for funding to complete this project.


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