The Outback Way is the only direct route that connects Western Australia to Queensland, and is an important piece of national transport infrastructure.
The inconsistent and poor condition of the road leads to long and unreliable travel times and higher safety risk for road users. Around half of the route is unsealed.
There are 13 remote and regional communities that directly rely on the Outback Way for the supply of essential goods and services. This is adversely affecting economic growth in many of these remote communities, further entrenching social disadvantage.
Outback Way also supports industries such as tourism, cattle, freight and mining. However, some operators have reported that they avoid travelling on the Outback Way due to its poor condition, instead taking alternative but much longer routes, such as the Barkly Highway.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that remote and regional supply chains are critical for industry and to supply communities with basic needs.