The WA government says that the program will ensure that the Kimberley’s roads are stronger and more resilient in the long run
The Western Australian and federal governments have announced that $104.9 million is being put into a betterment program for flood-impacted infrastructure in the Kimberley region.
Jointly funded through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), the Infrastructure Betterment Program is the first of its kind in WA.
“Our Kimberley road network is vital for freight, transport and tourism, and this funding will help future proof this critical infrastructure for generations to come,” WA premier Roger Cook says.
“Importantly, a significant portion of the works to build back better will be completed by local workers and businesses.
“I am grateful to the federal government for their support in this project, which is the first of its kind in Western Australia.”
Essential public road infrastructure damaged by January’s record-breaking flooding following ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie is being rebuilt to a stronger, more resilient standard intended to better withstand future natural disasters.
The new Fitzroy River Bridge, which was officially opened today, was the first completed project, with upgrades to damaged sections of the Great Northern Highway and Gibb River Road also underway.
The program will also support the betterment of impacted local government road networks to safeguard against future natural hazards.
“The Kimberley floods were absolutely devastating, but to see infrastructure rebuilt to a stronger standard so they can withstand future severe weather events will be absolutely critical to the region’s resilience,” WA transport minister Rita Saffioti says.
The WA government says that betterment works will decrease the repetitious damage to flood-prone essential public assets and lower future reconstruction costs, saving more for all levels of government and alleviating disruption to the community in the long term.
Work undertaken throughout the program will complement the estimated $450 million repair and rebuild works underway on flood-damaged roads and bridges, which the WA government says is also jointly funded by itself and the federal government.
“I welcome this federal government commitment to deliver upgrades like these to improve flood resilience, reliability and capacity for roads and bridges in the Kimberley region,” federal transport and infrastructure minister Catherine King says.
“This program is just another example of what can be achieved when federal and state governments work together to improve dependability and safety for all road users, and I’m pleased to see upgrades from this program already in use.”
The WA government says that both itself and the federal government are committed to investing in rebuilding flood-impacted roads, bridges and floodways to withstand the impacts of future natural hazards in the Kimberley.