The second stage of upgrades to the Great Northern Highway, north of Ord River in the Kimberley region are now underway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government was committed to investing in regional Australia.
"This important regional project is part of the Australian Government's commitment to better connect our regions, improve safety on our roads and improve freight productivity," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
"The Great Northern Highway is an important route for the local community and tourists, as well as the mining sector and other export industries that access the Port of Wyndham.
"Upgrading the Ord River section of Great Northern Highway between Halls Creek and the Victoria Highway turn-off is vital as it is a key part of Western Australia's high-wide-load corridor and provides access to remote communities, surrounding mining and pastoral leases and to the Port of Wyndham.
"This is what the Australian Government's $110 billion investment pipeline is all about – getting Australians home sooner and safer while boosting local economies as we bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic."
Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said improving the safety of regional roads was a top priority for the McGowan Government.
"Phase two of the Great Northern Highway upgrades will improve safety for this key network while also providing unique employment and training opportunities," Minister Saffioti said.
"Our Government has a strong focus on improving road safety which we are continuing to deliver through the Regional Road Safety Program with the Commonwealth.
"We had a strong focus on Aboriginal employment and training opportunities in phase one and look forward to continuing to build on these opportunities throughout phase two."
Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said previous network assessments carried out in the Kimberley region identified this section of the Great Northern Highway as substandard, given its narrow road width and excessive edge wear.
"The current road condition meant opposing traffic needed to pass with minimal separation, forcing vehicles onto the unsealed road shoulder when passing," Ms Price said.
"The road upgrades will further improve safety and efficiency for road users and continue to provide employment for local people and businesses.
"Aboriginal engagement and participation was a major focus during phase one, with the project team working closely with the local community of Warmun to create job opportunities and provide a culturally sensitive working environment.
"I am proud phase two will continue to provide a training ground for many Aboriginal workers to enter the road construction industry and develop skills and experience."
WA Member for the Kimberley Divina D'Anna said there were a number of road projects underway across the Kimberley supporting local jobs.
"This project has a strong focus on Aboriginal engagement and training, providing a pathway for workers onto other road projects," she said.
"I'm excited to be a part of the McGowan Government that is prioritising local jobs for local workers and pleased to see these roads being made safer for the people of East Kimberley as well as visitors."
Phase two of the Great Northern Highway Upgrade – Ord River North Project includes the realignment of 11 kilometres of highway and will be delivered by WBHO Infrastructure Pty Ltd.
Phase one works, which included reconstructing eight kilometres of Great Northern Highway between the Ord River and Tickalara Creek, were completed last year.
The $43.5 million phase two project is jointly funded, with the Australian Government committing $34.6 million and the Western Australian Government $8.9 million.
Source: Media Release