A proposal to upgrade one of the State’s key freight links has been given a boost with Infrastructure Australia giving the project an official rating.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the “early stage” rating by Infrastructure Australia indicated growing support for the $450 million project, long championed by the State Government.
“We first submitted this project to Infrastructure Australia in February 2014 because we recognised the incredible potential of unlocking a new freight route between South Australia and Queensland,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Sealing the 426 kilometre Strzelecki Track between Lyndhurst and Innamincka will dramatically reduce transport costs for the expanding Cooper Basin oil and gas industry by millions of dollars each year.
“The proposal also involves creating a 26km sealed road between Innamincka and the Queensland border, creating a sealed transport link from Adelaide to Brisbane.
“The emerging unconventional oil and gas industry has the potential to create 2500 jobs and attract hundreds of millions of dollars to the region and this upgrade is a crucial step towards encouraging investment.
“Sealing the Strzelecki Track would also deliver enormous benefits to the north east pastoral industry as well as to people in remote communities and the tourism sector.
“We are delighted that Infrastructure Australia has recognised the value of this project.”
Mr Koutsantonis said the upgrade would make the critical Outback transport route a cheaper, quicker and more reliable transport option.
“The existing road is often corrugated and rough and takes a heavy toll on the vehicles which use it, and its susceptibility to the weather results in closures and delays,” he said.
“The upgrade would also improve safety by dramatically reducing travel times and cutting the risk of crashes as a result of to poor road conditions.
“This Infrastructure Australia assessment will help to progress discussions between the State Government, the Commonwealth and operators in the Cooper Basin on possible funding options.”
Source: News Release, Government of South Australia, 29 September, 2015