Joint Media Release with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development The Hon Michael McCormack MP; Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan; NT Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics The Hon Eva Lawler and NT Member for Barkly The Hon Gerry McCarthy
The Northern Territory’s Barkly Stock Route is set to become more reliable for the cattle industry and pastoralists with the tender for construction recently released.
The project is part of the Australian Government’s $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Program, which is focused on improving the reliability, productivity and resilience of cattle supply chains in northern Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Barkly Stock Route Upgrading Project would help to deliver 15 kilometres of sealing works on the Barkly Stock Route, with works beginning about eight kilometres east of the Stuart Highway.
“The Barkly Stock Route services some of the largest cattle stations in Australia, and the upgrades to be delivered through this project will support producers in the area by providing a more reliable link between the Stuart Highway and the Tablelands Highway through the centre of the Barkly Tableland region,” Mr McCormack said.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said “the Barkly Stock Route is unsealed and wet weather conditions result in slippery surfaces and deep muddy sections that restrict heavy vehicle operations due to the poor conditions.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said that upgrading the Barkly Stock Route showed that the Australian Government was committed to improving flood immunity in Northern Australia.
“When works are completed, the upgrade will reduce road closures at these sections from approximately three months to around 15 days annually and allow reductions in weight restrictions for heavy vehicles on certain sections of the Barkly Stock Route road,” Senator Scullion said.
Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said upgrading the route would improve the safety of the road for local communities, industry, transport operators and tourists.
“The Northern Territory Cattle Industry contributes to jobs in the Barkly Region. These upgrades to the Barkly Stock Route will not only provide jobs during construction, but will support jobs in the Barkly Region ongoing. The upgrade to a sealed standard will improve the safety of all road users.” Ms Lawler said.
Northern Territory Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy said the 2016 Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences figures show the Northern Territory pastoral industry is worth $722 million.
“Taking into account related services, the figure is boosted to around $1 billion, and the Barkly hosts some of the biggest and best pastoral stations in the Northern Territory so it makes good sense to invest in transport infrastructure”, said Mr McCarthy.
Construction for the Barkly Stock Route Upgrading Project is expected to start in late 2018 and be completed by early 2019, weather permitting.
The Australian Government has committed up to $10 million to the project, with the Northern Territory Government committing a further $2.5 million.