LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Outback Way is included in the Coalition’s Northern Australia Policy which is highlighting a significant vision for Australia’s future.
Our submission to the Northern Australia white paper outlines how the Outback Way can be kept open for business for road trains for $11m a year, prior to the start of the sealing project in 2016/17.
The Outback Way project is not just a road – keeping it open for business addresses some critical policy areas: Productivity for a consolidating mining and freight sector, live export adjustment, indigenous access and equity, and a new adventure self-drive tourism route with the lowering dollar.
The reduced distance between WA and Qld due to the Outback Way will facilitate: Linkages between the nation’s two largest mining areas in Queensland and in Western Australia, accounting for over 73% of Australia’s output, saving companies $1m per shift for emergency equipment replacement and $16,000 per mining movement one way.
In the past six months there have been significant cattle movements along the Plenty Highway and Donohue Highway into Qld due to dry conditions and producers adjusting to a decline in live export. Pressure on these roads has created bull dust, ruts, and collapsed some sections of formed gravel road causing it to be too damaging for road trains.
With the Outback Way open for business for road trains, WA markets would be a viable alternative, diversifying access to markets and agistment.
The Outback Way winds through the land of 13 indigenous communities and seven rural and remote shires, providing access to essential food and requirements, and education and health services enabling continuity of service delivery which will ensure traction and a real difference on the ground – closing the gap.
The ILC Indigenous Tourism training college at Yulara offers significant opportunities for tourism development along the route. We want to play an active role in facilitating these developments and actively support existing indigenous tourism operators and will promote new businesses along the route.
An upgraded Outback Way will see traveller numbers quadruple through Outback Qld, Central Australia and Australia’s Golden Outback in WA. It is an adventure route of note and offers an extraordinary experience with the world’s longest geocache trail – or treasure hunt! It enables tourists to zig-zag the nation for the first time.
Keeping the Outback Way open for business makes continuity of freight deliveries and services possible, improving business potential, industry efficiencies, tourism opportunities, and quality of life for the people who live in these remote communities.
Outback Highway Development Council
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR