HIGHWAY TO PERTH
A SEALED inland highway linking Townsville to Perth via Alice Springs is tipped to be built by 2025.
Helen Lewis, general manager of the Outback Highway Development Council said there was still 1700km of dirt track on the 2800km separating Winton from Laverton in Western Australia.
“We still have to seal that 1700km,” she said
“We have received $ 75 million over three years in state and federal funding.
“We estimate we will need another $ 500 million to seal the entire route.
“We are confident that the funding will be forthcoming and that the Inland Way will be complete by 2025.”
Winton Mayor Butch Lenton said the road would connect coastal centres such as Townsville to Perth via Central Australia.
“We call it Australia’s longest shortcut,” Cr Lenton said.
“It will provide a direct connection for towns along the North Queensland coast with Western Australia.
“It will mean people cross the nation via centre.”
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tourism, agriculture and mining would all be beneficiaries of the Inland Way when it is completed.
“There are the reasons to do it. Economically it will be a great thing.
“It means that trucks from North Queensland travelling to Perth would not have to go right down south to cross the Nullarbor.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it would be a hard project to prioritise for North Queensland but didn’t rule it out.
“It has to be about priorities and if there is an industry need and it was seen as useful and a way to create jobs, I would support it fully,” she said.
“But at this point, we have to prioritise.”
Cr Hill said it was the first she’d heard of the concept.
“It would make for a very long drive,” she said.
Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Patricia O’Callaghan said it was an option for the future.
“There will always be opportunities but at the moment the priorities are on other roads in Northern Australia like the Flinders and Bruce highways,” she said.
“I would be happy to talk to the general manager and discuss it, but our focus is on ensuring those priority roads.”
HIGHWAY WEST: Winton Mayor Butch Lenton calls the proposed highway Ausralia’s longest shortcut.