NT Budget 2015 will provide money to seal the Mereenie Inner Loop over the next two years, the 43 kilometres of Larapinta Drive between Hermannsburg and Glen Helen, via Gosse's Bluff (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Why does road sealing cost twice as much in the Territory as does in shires across the borders on either side? "That's the question that needs to be asked," says Patrick Hill (at left), the president of the Laverton Shire and chairman of the Outback Highway Development Council Inc. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
UPDATE Nov 19 at 4:30pm
The NT Government has just released figures showing that road building in the NT is up to three times as expensive when compared with adjoining states.
The Outback Highway Development Council says the commitment of $11m a year for three years from the Coalition would bring the $512m project on track for the start of full sealing in 2016/17, according general manager Helen Lewis. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
UPDATE 1:30 pm
Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan, who is the deputy chair of the highway council, says the huge difference in construction cost in the NT, when compared with WA and Queensland, could be an argument in favour of re-introducing road construction into local government works departments.
On May 27 a team of eight set off with the Tanami Action Group from Halls Creek down the Tanami Road to Alice Springs. 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, writes Lara Wilde, of the Tanami Action Group.
The Outback Highway Development Council Inc. completed its $14.9m funding application for Round 4 Regional Development Australia - Regional Development Infrastructure Fund, to upgrade and seal priority sections of the Outback Way, 2800km between Laverton WA and Winton in Qld, linking Perth to Qld as a trans-national link, writes Patrick Hill, chairman, of the Outback Highway Development Council.
Central Australia is getting $40m in new capital works spending in the Territory's 2012-13 Budget.
This is not counting re-votes from previous Budgets.
The Centre's slice is just 3% of what Treasurer Delia Lawrie describes as "a huge $1.3 billion infrastructure investment across the emergency services, education, health, roads, corrections and housing sectors".
A quarter – $10m – of Central Australia's new allocations will be spent on the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (at left, Google Earth), $5m on the Alice hospital and $5m on the Mereenie road, the Red Centre Way.
Meanwhile the Opposition says Territorians will pay in excess of $1b in interest repayments "as a result of the Labor Government’s failure to reign in debt".
Peter Solly, General Manager Tourism Central Australia, says the Budget "recognised the importance of providing additional funding to the tourism sector to stimulate demand and support the industry in response to the Global Financial Crisis [but] the real value of base funding to the tourism sector has not kept up with inflation".