Mr GUYULA to MINISTER for INFRASTRUCTURE, PLANNING and LOGISTICS
The Central Arnhem Highway is a major connective road for my electorate and the Arnhem electorate. Nhulunbuy, Yirrkala, Laynhapuy homelands, Marthakal homelands, Ramingining, Milingimbi are dependent on this road enterprise, governance and relational connectivity to an essential infrastructure. With particular interest in Nhulunbuy into Ramingining end of the road, what points are expected to be made available in future progress to the Central Arnhem Highway so our region can be further informed of relational and economic development?
Madam Speaker, I thank the Member for Nhulunbuy for his question. It is an excellent question in regards to road infrastructure. We know investment in road right across the Northern Territory delivers import important transport corridors for us socially and creates new economic avenue. There is no doubt we want to see sound investments into roads across the Northern Territory.
We have one of the biggest challenges with one of the greatest unsealed networks of roads infrastructure in this country. We have some horrendous road conditions in the Northern Territory which makes life difficult for people in the bush. We need to invest more in roads.
Part of the work we are doing as a new government is making sure we target road investments strategically as possible through our economic summit process and working on our 10 year infrastructure plan. We will be overlaying our infrastructure plan with logistics master plan. Part of that is looking at targeting those road upgrades to find sections that need to be sealed and where the greatest priority lies. Arnhem Highway is a road we must look at and continue to work on.
We have other challenging roads. The Member for Stuart is very passionate about the Tanami which is an important road. The Member for Daly is one of the strongest advocates for roads infrastructure. He brings forward his issues with his constituents. It is an important matter.
Unfortunately the reality is that roads do no come cheaply. To seal small sections of roads can cost in the millions. It is about making sure we prioritise the expenditure to maximise the return. Roads is a good investment particularly when it comes to jobs in the civil construction sector. It ensures we are supporting those local jobs on the ground.
Across the Territory we are seeing more communities developing and building up a capacity to do more works in that space. That is something we want to see and another reason this 10 year infrastructure plan is important. It is about helping people gear up and look at the opportunities ahead and where the priorities are. It helps when it comes to lobbying the Commonwealth. They are an important player we need to bring to the table. We can see what infrastructure investment they are willing to make in the North since we have a federal government committed to a Northern Australian development agenda.
As infrastructure minister I will be doing everything I can to pursue that.