Industry bodies say more work needed in NT and WA

WARTA and NTRTA claim the federal government has overlooked many important projects

Industry bodies say more work needed in NT and WA
NTRTA executive officer Louise Bilato says the federal government must consider plans to improve the Great Northern Highway section in the Pilbara.


Welcoming federal government’s commitment to improve road infrastructure across the northern states, the Northern Territory Road Transport Association (NTRTA) and the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) press the need for more investment in the region.

The federal government has promised to spend $360 million on road infrastructure projects across Queensland, WA and NT in a 80:20 funding partnership with each of the three state governments.

The program will see over $130 million being invested on roads in NT, over $90 million in WA and more than $140 million in Queensland. 

NTRTA executive officer Louise Bilato tells ATN that while the federal funding will bring about much-needed improvements such as realignment and rebuilding of the heavily trafficked section of road through Coongen Gorge, the transport body is "disappointed" that its calls to reduce the number of single lane bridges on the Great Northern Highway fell on deaf ears.

"The NT Road Transport Association (NTRTA) supports the federal government’s funding commitment to road funding in WA on the grounds that safer WA roads will benefit Territory freight operators travelling cross borders," Bilato says.

"NTRTA is disappointed that industry calls to reduce the number of single lane bridges on the Great Northern Highway in the Kimberly have been overlooked on this occasion. 

"No matter how good the line of sight, single lane bridges are notoriously dangerous and should not form a part of Australia’s national highway network in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

"The realignment, passing lanes and upgrade to Maggies Jump Up in Wyndham is undoubtedly good news to the local community.

"However, these projects cannot be described as industry priorities, given the very low volume of heavy vehicles using that road network. 

"On the other hand there are no passing lanes on the Great Northern Highway in the Pilbara. 

"This section of the Great Northern Highway remains very busy in spite of the downturn in mining, with in excess of 500 road trains daily including the super road trains operating out of Roy Hill moving back and forth. 

"However, the road transport industry is delighted that $43.5 million will be spent realigning and rebuilding a section of road through Coongen Gorge, which is both dangerous and heavily trafficked."

Meanwhile, WARTA freight and logistics division manager Cam Dumesny tells ATN that while the funding allocation for WA is "important" for the relevant projects, it does not address state-wide infrastructure issues as a result of "unfair" federal funding allocation.

"WARTA welcomes the federal funding of these three road projects in northern WA, as part of the Developing Northern Australia policy," Dumesny says.

"The identified project are important to making safer and more productive road network in Northern WA.

"However, these funds form part of a national policy to develop the potential of Australia’s north, and do not address the fundamental issue of WA’s continuing to be short changed on Federal road funding."

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