ADVOCACY / CURRENT ACTIVITIES
The sealing of the Newman to Marble Bar road, the Tom Price to Karratha Road and the study of the East-West Link represents major and strategic infrastructure commitments that prioritise the safety of the community and economic growth of the region.
The Newman – Marble Bar – Port Hedland Road has been identified by Infrastructure Australia’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Audit Report as having the second highest Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) per day of all Western Australian examples, with nearly 400,000 VKT per day, 55% of which by heavy vehicles. The Tom Price-Karratha Road is just below 100,000 VKT, with 33% through heavy vehicle traffic.
The WA Government through the Department of Transport has also identified the importance of both projects in its Regional Freight Transport Network Plan. Under ‘Direction 9: Invest in the Road Network’, the Department sets out the goal of completing the Tom Price-Karratha Road and a Marble Bar Road Upgrade between Newman and Rippon Hills Road turn off (Newman – Marble Bar).
These priority roads, as well as the link between Queensland and Western Australia through the Northern Territory are integrally linked to the Department of Regional Development and Lands ‘Pilbara Cities Initiative’ through its commitment to upgraded road infrastructure. The Pilbara Development Commission’s ‘Investment Blueprint’ also which specifically mentions all three road projects as high priorities, linking inland mining towns and National Parks to coastal ports and major airports. Export access to markets through infrastructure between principal locations and port or airport as well as tourist confidence is limited by the quality of road infrastructure. Increased flood resilience through sealing will ensure certainty for business travel costs and community safety irrespective of the weather season.
Additionally, the Department of Planning’s ‘Pilbara Planning and Infrastructure Framework’ identifies the objective of ‘integrated, efficient and safe roads’ through ‘continuing to upgrade existing highways to provide safe, all-weather road connections’ and more specifically, to ‘Provide an all-weather, sealed road from Marble Bar to Newman (through Nullagine)’. These projects have the full support of all local governments, all relevant State Government departments, and all strategic planning documents; funding for construction is all that remains.
That a commitment to be made to: