Burke Shire wants Savannah Way sealed into the Northern Territory

Samantha Campbell
By Samantha Campbell
Updated May 5 2022 - 12:15am, first published May 4 2022 - 9:30pm
The National Highway 1 - Savannah Way links across three states/territories, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Motorists could soon have an alternative sealed route from Queensland to the Northern Territory if two councils successfully lobby for state and territory funding.

The Burke Shire Council is working with the Roper Gulf Regional Council to seal the remaining 300-kilometre dirt section of the Savannah Way from Queensland into the Northern Territory.

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Currently, the only sealed road into the Northern Territory is along the Barkly Highway.

Burke Shire Council Mayor Ernie Camp said improving road conditions were vital to Northern Australia's development.

"We are chatting to the Roper Gulf Regional Council to highlight the significance of sealing National Highway 1, Savannah Way," Cr Camp said.

"That road needs to be sealed all the way to the next section of sealing, which is at Borroloola (NT), that would be a gap of about 300 kilometres. Until that road is completely sealed, it won't become a successful part of the National Highway 1 and the iconic drive it could be."

Cr Camp said there had been significant road funding announcements but not enough to develop Northern Australia.

"We have seen some great announcements in this election with $178 million for Outback Way, $400 million for Inland Way and $270 million for Townsville," he said.

"There have been some brief announcements by our Queensland Senator Susan McDonald and Senator Matt Canavan talking about $50 million for Savannah Way from Cairns to the Queensland/ Northern Territory border. If elected, the opposition has also committed to $200 million of funding for Northern Territory roads.

"However, sealing a road is roughly one million dollars a kilometre. The Northern Territory and Queensland are big areas, so if we want to develop Northern Australia, we really need to pump more into these regions."

Cr Camp said that the Savannah Way crossing from Queensland into the Northern Territory does ensure funding challenges but nothing that couldn't be managed.

"I think part of the challenge is the road crosses from one state into the Territory. However, the Inland Way does go through multiple borders, so if we are really thinking about developing Northern Australia, this road is the road that will fast track it.

The National Highway 1 - Savannah Way links across three states/territories, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

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Samantha Campbell

Samantha Campbell

Senior Journalist

Samantha Campbell (nee Walton) has worked for regional and rural publications across News South Wales and Queensland and is currently the senior journalist at the North West Star in Mount Isa. Sam enjoys family life on their cattle station with her husband and two kids and competes in local campdraft and rodeo events. Email: samantha.campbell@austcommunitymedia.com.au

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