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