Journey of 790km begins with State funding steps

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TTN: A joint NT and WA government initiative looks like it may see the notorious Tanimi Track paved, in a move north-west Australian tourism operators know would open up Australia’s north west to Australia’s south east. In the picture above, the Tanami Track represents only the area from Alice Springs to Halls Creek.

Of course, now the Western Australian and Northern Territory is asking for federal budget for the project, but after the much-hyped Northern Australia White Paper of the Abbott government, a northern Australian may well feel entitled to a federal funding boost.

Remote cattle station owners say Tanami Rd upgrade would ‘open up the west’

From the NT News, 3rd November 2015

A flat tyre on the Tanami is not an uncommon event but fewer could be seen if a major upgrade of the road goes ahead.

CATTLE station owners have praised a joint government proposal to upgrade the Tanami Road — a 1014km link between NT and Western Australia through the Tanami Desert — to the tune of $680 million.

NT Minister for Transport Peter Chandler and WA Minister for Transport Dean Nalder announced the proposal on Thursday, and said they were vying for funding from the Federal Government to seal a currently rough and rocky 790km section of the road.

The proposal, made in partnership with the West Australian shire of Halls Creek, has been heralded by remote cattle station owners on the Tanami as an “opening to the west”.

Owner of Napperby Station and Tilmouth Well Roadhouse Janet Chisolm said if successful, the funding would bring a huge boon to the cattle industry, foodbowl and tourism in the region.

“There’s a lot of people wanting to travel with caravans, but the Tanami is too rough,” Ms Chisolm said.

“There’s definitely been a drop in people travelling up and down the road in the last two years, but not on the Stuart Highway.

“The market is out there … you really need to open that access. It’s a huge market, people will always want to travel to the Kimberley and Kununurra.”

Owner of Mount Doreen Station, 400km from Alice Springs, Matthew Braitling said sealing the Tanami would be “extremely” beneficial to his life and business.

“The Tanami is in extremely poor condition at the moment,” Mr Braitling said.

“The wear and tear on our vehicles — even just from small things like going to get our groceries — is constant trouble.

“Bitumising the road would also cut down our times down hugely.”

Mr Chandler said the benefits to the region produced by paving the Tanami were expected to increase over time.

“The immeasurable benefits in providing reliable access to health, education and jobs for a region such as the Tanami will resonate through generations to come,” Mr Chandler said.

He also mentioned the project could have lasting improvements to the region’s indigenous population.

“The construction of the project would be over a five to 10-year period, long enough for many local indigenous people to gain qualifications in the civil construction, surveying or other engineering and construction related fields,” he said.

If successful in gaining funding, the $680 million proposal would see the 790km unsealed section of the road transformed into a fully sealed, two-lane highway.