Beetaloo Basin fast tracked in Northern Territory for gas-led recovery

Infrastructure and remote road upgrades valued at $217 million are expected to open up economic opportunities in the Northern Territory.

The Federal Government this week committed itself to fast tracking what it views as the potentially enormous economic benefit of the Beetaloo Basin as part of the Northern Territory’s Gas Industry Roads Upgrades program.

It will be funded through the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative.

As it seeks to unlock hundreds of jobs from a gas-led recovery to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government is announcing its intention to build upon the $219 million committed to Northern Territory roads in the 2020-21 Federal Budget and the 2020 Covid-19 Stimulus Package which has provisions to advantage further development of the gas industry in the region.

Funding will also include a $325,000 study for the development a fully operational multimodal facility and rail terminal in the Northern Territory to meet the current and future growth needs of Tennant Creek and the Barkly area.

The study will explore the feasibility and options for proceeding with the multimodal facility with scope to provide opportunities for industrial and logistics support for expansion of the agriculture, pastoral, mining and other industries and improved, interconnectivity to the future Mt Isa to Tennant Creek rail, existing Adelaide to Darwin rail and the Stuart Highway and Barkly Highway.

“The Basin has the potential to transform the Northern Territory’s economy, creating thousands of jobs and supply Australia’s gas demand for decades to come,” said Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt.

“Reliable supply chains are crucial for growing the Territory’s economy by attracting new economic development and supporting our existing industries to grow in remote and regional areas. This investment will help make sure the Territory is Australia’s comeback capital,” Pitt said.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the Australian Government is investing $4.6 billion in the Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative to better connect regional businesses to local and international markets, as well as better linking regional communities.

“ROSI is all about ensuring our key freight roads efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hubs,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.

“This initiative delivers works such as road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments.”

Senator for the Northern Territory Dr Sam McMahon said the project will help better connect regional businesses to local and international markets as well as forge stronger links between regional communities.

“With the Northern Territory being a prosperous but vast landscape, these vital road corridors are integral to our regional and remote communities and this further funding is only going to see them thrive well into the future,” said McMahon.

The development study is expected to commence in early 2021 and be completed by the end of 2021.