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Community & Business

24 November, 2021

Upgrade on the way for Ootann Road

A KEY freight corridor that connects northern Australia with key markets in the south will be the subject of a further $5.92 million upgrade aimed at improving safety, reducing travel times and keeping communities connected year-round.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz (centre) with TRC Mayor Rod Marti and MSC Mayor Angela Toppin on the Ootann Road.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said Ootann Road was a strategic freight corridor that connected northern Australia with markets in the south, supporting the growth and prosperity of a range of local businesses including in agriculture, mining and tourism. 

“This road is well used by truckies, is a vital connection for local communities and allows tourists to come up and experience what this beautiful region has to offer,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. 

“That’s why I am pleased to announce the Australian Government is committing a further $5.92 million to improve the safety and year-round access of this vital connection.” 

Upgrades worth $4.08 million along Ootann Road in the TRC local government area will be jointly funded by the Australian Government and TRC in an 80:20 split, while $3.32 million in upgrades along the road in the Mareeba Shire will also be jointly funded. 

The latest round of funding will deliver upgrades that include pavement widening and sealing works to a 9-metre seal width.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the upgrade formed part of a broader $50 million investment to upgrade the Cairns to Northern Territory corridor under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. 

“I have personally experienced the unsealed sections of the Ootann Road. As a former transport operator, they were some of the roughest, harshest road conditions I have ever experienced,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said. “I am pleased we are partnering with local government to build a better Ootann and improve this important freight road. 

“Following the tireless advocacy of local mayors and former Mareeba Mayor Tom Gilmore, Ootann Road has been placed on the national agenda and under the Morrison Government, is attracting significant investment and this new ROSI funding will mean $7.4 million in investment, split 80:20 with local government,” 

Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Angela Toppin said the investment would come as welcome news to local communities.

“Widening and sealing the road has been a priority of ours for years, and council is proud to be investing in this project with the help of the Australian Government to make it happen,” Mayor Toppin said. 

“I can’t wait for works to get underway, which will support jobs in the short term while delivering lasting improvements that will enhance freight productivity and lower ongoing maintenance costs in the long run.” 

Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Rod Marti said the latest round of funding was critical to ensure access during the wet season. 

“The unsealed sections of Ootann Road are prone to flooding, which is currently preventing year-round use of the route and posing a barrier to business and economic growth,” he said. 

“This project will weather-proof the road, reducing the need for road closures and load limits during the wet season and making it more reliable for freight, locals and tourists.”

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