Par­ties com­mit to fix road

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

The WA Na­tion­als will use pro­ceeds from the sale of Hed­land’s Utah Point to fund the long-awaited seal­ing of the Kar­ratha to Tom Price Road if elected.

The Na­tion­als fol­lowed hot on the heels of the La­bor Party, which flew Alan­nah MacTier­nan to the Pil­bara a fort­night ago to an­nounce its own $50 mil­lion com­mit­ment to seal­ing the next stage of the road.

Mrs MacTier­nan said the cur­rent Gov­ern­ment had made no progress on the road since tak­ing of­fice, not­ing the last section to be sealed was done un­der a La­bor Gov­ern­ment.

“We have made an im­me­di­ate com­mit­ment to get the next stage done,” she said.

“The re­main­ing parts of the road left to do will be an ex­pen­sive and com­plex project and what we are go­ing to be do­ing is putting that on our shop­ping list in our pri­or­i­ties for Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

“Hon­estly, I can­not be­lieve they have got away with be­ing in Gov­ern­ment for eight-and-a-half years and they did noth­ing.”

Mr Grylls said the pri­or­ity for the Na­tion­als if re-elected would be to get the 50km stretch from Kar­ratha to the Balla Balla sealed to help un­der­pin the project.

“The Balla Balla project have made a com­mit­ment to Pil­bara towns but you can’t have a drivein, drive-out work­force trav­el­ling on a gravel road,” he said.

“This project has been talked about for 20-30 years. We have now found a fund­ing source to make that hap­pen, which is the sale of Utah Point in Hed­land.

“My sense is the pro­ceeds from Utah will go a long way to en­abling us to de­liver that project.”

Mr Grylls said with­out the sale of Utah Point, La­bor would have no means to fund the road up­grade.

North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia said a sealed road would al­low res­i­dents on both sides of the road to en­joy the at­trac­tions each had to of­fer with­out risk­ing their lives on a dirt road.

Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers Party can­di­date Fiona White-Har­tig said $50 mil­lion was nowhere near the com­mit­ment needed to get the road sealed.

“There has been mod­el­ling around $300 mil­lion, and around $600 mil­lion, so there needs to be a com­mit­ment for the whole project, not just lit­tle bits,” she said.

“No­body has cared about it for the past eight years and these prom­ises are just com­ing too late for me.

“I can’t see why they can’t com­mit to at least 40km a year.”

The Lib­eral Party is yet to make a firm com­mit­ment to seal­ing the road, but Pil­bara can­di­date Mark Alchin said he would sup­port Roy­al­ties for Re­gions fund­ing it.

Flood­ing on the Kar­ratha to Tom Price Road. Pic­ture: Ge­of­frey El­lis Pho­tog­ra­phy

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