Around $20 million has been allocated to upgrade 95 kilometres of regional roads in Western Australia throughout 2020-21 as part of the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network (WSFN) program.
The $187.5 million jointly funded program was established in 2020 to increase freight efficiency and productivity, reduce vehicle-operating cost and improve road safety along strategic freight routes within the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
The program aims to upgrade 53 strategic routes throughout the Wheatbelt to help lower freight input costs to agricultural production and increase Australia’s international competitiveness in agricultural markets.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network was part of the Australian Government’s $4.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
“These upgrades will better connect businesses to domestic and international markets via Western Australia’s key ports, improving freight productivity and offering greater opportunities for business growth in the Wheatbelt region,” McCormack said.
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“While the focus is to assist the agricultural sector by providing better connections between agricultural regions and ports, the program will also improve access for tourism, mining and other sectors, delivering social, economic and employment benefits for all local communities.”
Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said these projects will create local jobs while also improving safety and efficiency.
“More than 95 kilometres of Wheatbelt roads will be prioritised for upgrading this year through this second tranche of funding, improving the Wheatbelt’s crucial transport supply chains and assisting this key agricultural area to grow,” Saffioti said.
“This investment complements our recently released Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy which highlighted priority transport projects across the Wheatbelt region, as well as the WA Government’s work in developing an Infrastructure Australia business case to support further future investment in WA Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements.
“That business case will consider upgrades to Tier 1, 2 and 3 freight rail infrastructure, as well as the primary and secondary road freight network.”
Federal Member for Pearce Christian Porter said the WSFN was a vital part of Western Australia’s economic success.
“The WSFN comprises approximately 4400 kilometres of road, with around 2,850 kilometres along the 53 strategic freight routes identified and prioritised for upgrading,” Porter said.
“The majority of these WSFN roads used by freight vehicles are unsuited to high volumes of heavy vehicle traffic. The Australian Government is recognising the importance of this road network by funding these upgrade works.”
The $187.5 million Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network program is jointly funded by the Australian ($150 million), and Western Australian ($37.5 million) Governments.