Media Release

26 October 2022


Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and OHDC thanks federal government for commitment to Outback Way funding



The Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku in partnership with the Outback Highway Development Council (OHDC) would like to thank the Australian Government for confirming its commitment to previous budget approvals for the Outback Way sealing project, with no cuts in funding in the upcoming federal budget delivered on October 25.


A budget allocation of $678 million by the previous government was made in March 2022 which, together with contributions from the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia state governments, will complete the sealing of the Outback Way in QLD and WA and see a significant portion of the road completed in the NT.


“The completion of the sealing of the Outback Way will deliver tangible outcomes for the national economy, budget, and the people of Australia for years to come,” says Shire President Damian McLean. “The Outback Way is an exemplary project for collaboration between governments at the local, state, and federal level and has been for more than 25 years.


“Committing to the Outback Way’s sealing completion is a responsible investment that aligns with the Australian Government’s economic plan and budget strategy.”


The fully sealed Outback Way supports the federal government’s economic plan in several strategic areas, including but not limited to:


  1. Reducing the cost of living


The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Consumer Price Index is currently at an average of 133% higher in remote communities compared to the national average. A sealed Outback Way enables increased amounts of suppliers to access and service remote and isolated communities, thus increasing competition and reducing prices, and brings in additional service providers in critical industries such as health and education, enabling them to increase their time spent in remote locations and improve outcomes for those communities.


  1. Driving productivity and economic growth


A sealed Outback Way alleviates supply side pressures and allows for new infrastructure and growth projects, such as the Oz Minerals project in West Musgrave, WA. This $1.7 billion copper-nickel mine announced in September 2022 will support the growth of the electric vehicle industry and create 1,500 jobs during construction and 400 jobs for ongoing operations.

  1. Improve connectivity and access between states and remote and isolated communities


Sealing of the Outback Way considerably improves road safety for local communities, including residents and tourists, reduces freight times, alleviates supply pressures, and enhances local and state economies by introducing tourism for domestic and international visitors.


Travel on the Outback Way prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was at a historic peak, with over 460,000 visitors to Alice Springs (NT) in 2018 with an average spend of $356 million and record-breaking tourist expenditure in QLD in 2018-19 with an increase of 23.6% year-on-year. Eleven new tourism products have been introduced and expanded along the route in QLD since 2018.


The Outback Way connects existing rail infrastructures in the NT and WA, enabling initiatives in projects in mining, agriculture, and other industries to be considered that had previously been limited by road access in the past.


Spanning 2,700 km in total from Laverton, WA to Winton, QLD, the Outback Way is well placed to support the Australian Government’s budget priorities and enhance outcomes for communities across the country. Completed sealing to date is a result of the continual collaboration between local councils and the QLD, NT, and WA governments and the OHDC. Originating in 1997 and officially founded in 1998, the OHDC is composed of a group of councils dedicated to the upgrade and sealing of the Outback Way in its entirety through financial and in-kind support, with more than $1 billion secured in funding to date. Only 1,200 km of the Outback Way’s 2,700 km remains to be sealed.



For media enquiries, please contact:

Damian McLean

Shire President

P: (08) 8956 7966