Road access improvements for remote WA communities

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Constrained road access to remote Western Australia communities
Priority Initiative
Location
Remote areas of WA
Geography
Small towns, rural communities and remote areas
Category
Remote Infrastructure
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
WA Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016

Problem

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 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit noted that lower levels of infrastructure service in remote areas can reinforce social and economic inequalities, particularly for Aboriginal communities in the area. The Audit noted that connecting remote communities to the rest of the country is vital to their lives and economies.

Proposed initiative

The initiative proposes 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.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).