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Truss gets into gear on northern Australian roads

Nationals secure Turnbull agreement on continued federal spending on rural infrastructure


With a pledge from new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to continue with rural roads investment, federal infrastructure minister Warren Truss will head to Rockhampton for livestock route consultations.

The October 2 move is the first of three round tables to identify priorities in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia under the Northern Australia Beef Roads initiative.

The announcement comes as NT pastoralists raise road safety issues on the Buntine Highway.

Truss says the October 2 roundtable will give industry representatives the chance to shape investment priorities for roads which are crucial to northern cattle supply chains.

“The Australian government is committed to building better infrastructure and driving down operating costs for northern Australia’s cattle operations,” Truss adds.

“We have committed $100 million through the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program to improve roads which are critical to transporting cattle across the north.

“This is the first of three roundtables to be held in northern Australia where industry representatives can have their say about where available funding can be best spent.

“These roundtables will provide a platform for industry and governments to come together to identify funding priorities such as road upgrades and capacity improvements that increase productivity and reliability when transporting cattle.”

In the NT, Wave Hill Station manager Clint Fletcher tells ABC Radio three roadtrains have tipped over on the road in the past two years.

“There are a lot of blind corners and it is only a matter of time before a couple of road trains meet and end up very badly,” Fletcher says, in comments supported by Camfield Station manager John Stafford.

“There is not a lot of room to get off the road in these places.”

Rural infrastructure are a National’s priority and a focus of that party’s agreement with Turnbull, which Truss says includes support “for the government’s infrastructure investment program, including, of course, our major commitment to Inland Rail”, along with the “commitment to the Northern Australia and the Agricultural White Papers”, which include roads spending.

“Roads to be considered for funding under that program include key roads in the north, as identified in Infrastructure Australia’s northern Australia audit, as well as roads identified as priorities by jurisdictions,” Truss says.

“Northern roads will also benefit from the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which will provide concessional loans for major infrastructure in the north.”




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