Parliament Speech: Outback Way
I rise today to welcome to parliament some very important constituents who are here in Canberra representing an amazing road infrastructure project, the Outback Way, Australia's longest shortcut.
I give a big shout-out to the chairman of the Outback Way, Pat Hill, who's also the Shire of Laverton president; Outback Way manager Helen Lewis; my good friend Bruce Smith, who's over here to work with me to get more Indigenous employment on these projects; the Regional Development Australia chair, Lee Jacobsen; and the past chair, Julia Shadlow-Bath. Welcome, guys! It's great to have you here.
The team are literally paving their way to a new trans-Australian highway connecting Laverton in the northern goldfields of O'Connor to Winton in north-west Queensland. At 2,700 kilometres long, the Outback Way will almost halve the journey time for tourists travelling from the beaches of the golden west of WA to reef-fringed North Queensland. In my electorate of O'Connor it traverses the open rangelands, the mineral-rich northern goldfields and Indigenous lands, with opportunities to stop and explore Aboriginal art trails along the way. It pushes deeper into the harsh desert towards Central Australia, where you can wonder at Uluru and the Olgas before travelling on the Alice Springs. It crosses the expansive cattle country of the Northern Territory into fossil-rich western Queensland. But this extraordinary journey is not just for tourists. Logically, it provides a shortcut for the movement of livestock, mining equipment, fresh food and agricultural produce, removing over 50 per cent of freight from other well-used routes.
I thank the Outback Way team here today and look forward to seeing the road sealing commence at Laverton in the very near future.