Sup­port grows for sealed desert roads

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE - JOHN AN­DER­SEN

BAD roads cost Win­ton live­stock hauler Alan “Buddo” Grant an ex­tra $ 105,000 a year in tyres for his fleet of trucks.

Nor­mally he would buy 500 tyres a year at a to­tal cost of about $ 210,000 for his 12 trucks at about $ 420 per tyre. He said that if he was run­ning on mostly sealed roads, his tyre bill would be slashed by half. On a re­cent trip cart­ing 2000 head of cat­tle from the drought­stricken Polygam­mon Sta­tion near Bou­lia to ag­ist­ment on In­di­ana and Stir­ling Sta­tions near Alice Springs, he had 36 flat tyres.

It’s why he avidly sup­ports the de­vel­op­ment of the In­land Way high­way that would see Townsville linked to Perth by bi­tu­men road via the cen­tral deserts to Alice Springs in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Laver­ton in Western Aus­tralia. Mayor of the Laver­ton Shire Coun­cil in WA, Pa­trick Hill, said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had re­cently given his shire $ 11 mil­lion to­wards road up­grades. This was matched by another $ 11 mil­lion from the WA Gov­ern­ment.

“We’ve got $ 22 mil­lion over the next two to three years,’’ he said.

“The Deputy Prime Min­is­ter War­ren Truss is right be­hind the In­land High­way and so is Sen­a­tor Ian Mac­don­ald in Townsville. “There is a lot of sup­port.” Cr Hill said the high­way would open up cen­tral Aus­tralia from coast to coast and cut more than 2000km from the truck jour­ney be­tween North Queens­land and Perth via the Nullar­bor.

“It will open up the coun­try for min­ing, live­stock de­vel­op­ment and tourism,” he said.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

FED UP: Alan “Buddo” Grant, with his Grant's Trans­port truck, says the In­land Way high­way can’t come soon enough.

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