Key freight corridors targeted in Roads of Strategic Importance initiative

Initial principles and objectives of multi-billion-dollar project released

Key freight corridors targeted in Roads of Strategic Importance initiative
Key freight routes will be marked for upgrades.


Increased productivity and regional economic growth are two key goals of the government’s Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative, which is set to invest $3.5 billion over 10 years towards key freight routes in Australia.

Flagged in the federal Budget earlier this year, federal transport minister Michael McCormack has released the initial principles and objectives of the project, aimed at "ensuring our key freight roads efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hubs".

They include:

  • delivering via a corridor approach to support network improvements, as opposed to upgrades to individual elements that do not address capacity issues along the selected route
  • primarily deliver improvements to freight movements
  • support regional economic growth
  • improve safety for all users
  • support partnerships between Commonwealth and state governments with local government and industry
  • support targeted freight road reforms
  • support wider national reforms.

"The Roads of Strategic Importance initiative will deliver rolling packages of upgrades, which will improve the standard of priority corridors over a 10-year period," McCormack says.

"By targeting our investment on priority road corridors used by agricultural, mining and other industries, we will ensure upgrades delivered through the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative will provide more reliable infrastructure to improve connections across the supply chain and access to ports, airports and transport hubs."

ALC stresses productivity and efficiency of freight movement must underpin government planning. Read more, here

The process is set to be delivered in two stages, based around identifying areas of need and then implementing relevant upgrades.

The first stage involves analysis of relevant data and challenges and opportunities around freight movement on key arterials, including initial stakeholder engagement in northern Australia, with $1.5 billion already earmarked for projects in the north.


The second is focused on developing the scope of works along the corridors. Once key areas have been targeted, the federal government will liaise with state and territory counterparts to identify "specific packages of work" to be delivered to those areas.

"The government will be looking for other strategic corridors so our investments can support regional economic growth, support the expansion of local industries including the visitor economy, while also improving safety on these key roads," McCormack says.

The ROSI initiative is a component of the federal government's $75 billion infrastructure investment strategy in this year’s federal Budget.

Initial commitments that will fall under the ROSI banner include:

• $400 million for roads in Tasmania, with priority on the Bass Highway;

• $100 million to improve access from regional New South Wales to the Australian Capital Territory via the Barton Highway; and

• $220 million for the Bindoon Bypass in Western Australia.

The 10-year funding period commences from 2018-19, the government says.


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