State looks to Feds for help to complete road project

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Karratha to Tom Price Road.
Camera IconKarratha to Tom Price Road. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

The State Government has reached out to the Federal Government to secure funding for the Karratha to Tom Price Road, requesting $256 million to complete the project.

A letter sent to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack from WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti on August 2 detailed the necessity of the road’s construction and the revenue it will bring. In the letter, Saffioti says the road has been identified as a high priority for the WA State Government, having provided $50 million in the 2017-18 budget.

“The road is an important enabler for the achievement of State Government goals, relating to a strong focus on the regions, and facilitating economic and regional development,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said the Australian Government understood completing the sealing of the road is a priority.

“When considering funding requests from the jurisdictions, the Australian Government takes into account a range of factors, including available funding, safety and productivity benefits,” they said. Ms Saffioti also highlighted the necessity of road access for the Balla Balla Infrastructure and Flinders Group projects to enable a mostly drive-in, drive-out operation based out of Karratha.

“The Pilbara Development Commission has estimated the economic benefit to be in the order of $1.6 billion for full DIDO operations,” she said.

Member for the North West Central Vince Catania said he was pleased the State Government had finally put in a request for further funding, but said the resource companies which would benefit should also be contributing.

“I think the project would be more successful if the State and Federal governments, plus the resource industry each put in a third of the money required,” he said.

Ms Saffioti said no official response had been received but discussions were continuing.

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