There are approximately 270 remote communities in Western Australia, many of which are in the Kimberley region, 2,000 km from Perth. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, approximately 35,000 people live in remote areas of Western Australia. Many of these areas have limited transport access and poor freight connectivity. Existing roads are generally of low quality and some freight routes are unsealed. This:
- constrains access to employment, health and education services
- presents safety issues
- increases the costs of transporting goods
- reduces resilience to flooding, particularly during the wet season.
The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit noted that lower levels of infrastructure service in remote areas can reinforce social and economic inequalities.
A program of works to improve road access to remote Western Australian areas. This could consider:
- providing higher-standard gravel roads
- sealing gravel roads, such as the Karratha-Tom Price Road
- bridge and floodway improvements, such as along the Great Northern Highway and Brown’s Range Access Road
- improvements to remote and regional airstrips.
The Brown’s Range Access Road proposal seeks to address many of the identified problems by:
- upgrading and sealing the floodway across Sturt Creek
- upgrading the sheeting on the black soil plain sections
- upgrading of creek crossings in the Duncan Road range section.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).