By JULIUS DENNIS
The Outback Way, stretching from Winton QLD to Laverton WA and cutting straight through Alice Springs has been put on the 2021 Infrastructure Australia Priority List.
The road, dubbed “Australia’s longest shortcut,” has roughly “1200kms of remaining gravel [that] is currently being sealed, with a further 100kms being sealed this year,” according to the press release.
“The inclusion of the Outback Way on the Priority List is recognition of the significance of what this completed project will do for the nations,” says the chairman of the Outback Highway Development Council, Patrick Hill.
While the road’s placement on the list does not ensure the road funding going forward, it is hoped that the project, which is a budget line item annually, will now see rolling funding through 2022 and 2023 in order to reach completion.
Submissions to appear on the list must prove that the project will save the nation at least $30m.
The livestock industry is set to save $2.6m annually once the Outback Way has been sealed.
The completed road will also supposedly lower the cost of living in remote towns along the road, where in some cases a basket of goods costs 133% more in towns with unsealed highways than in comparable towns connected to sealed roads.