Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Outback Way

About the program

The Outback Way is a 2,720 kilometre route that links Laverton in Western Australia with Winton in Queensland via Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The condition of the route varies, with sections of unsealed, single lane seal and dual lane seal of differing standards and quality.

Since 2013, the Australian Government has committed $1.008 billion to seal and upgrade key sections of the Outback Way. This $1.008 billion investment consists of numerous commitments to deliver upgrades, listed below:

2022 $678 million Commitment

In February 2022, the Australian Government announced a commitment of $678 million to seal another 1,000 kilometres of road and deliver further upgrades along Australia’s longest shortcut, Outback Way, creating thousands of jobs and better connecting regional industries and communities.

As part of the works, the remaining unsealed and substandard sections of Outback Way in Queensland and Western Australia will be sealed.

Allocations across jurisdictions are as follows:

  • Queensland: $154 million
  • Northern Territory: $124 million
  • Western Australia: $400 million

2018 $160 million Commitment

In April 2018, the Australian Government announced a commitment of $160 million to build on existing works to further seal and widen sections of the Outback Way.

The Australian Government allocated the $160 million commitment among the jurisdictions as follows:

  • Queensland—$33.5 million
  • Northern Territory—$50 million
  • Western Australia—$76.5 million

Project planning is underway and the Australian Government is working with Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to identify the sections of the Outback Way to be upgraded under this commitment.

2016 $100 million Commitment

In 2016, the Australian Government committed $100 million to upgrade targeted sections of the Outback Way. Works undertaken include various improvements, such as road widening and sealing for the benefit of increased safety, productivity and flood immunity.

In order to identify projects and help inform the allocation of the $100 million commitment, the Australian Government commissioned an Investment Strategy. This strategy was finalised in 2019.

2013 $42 million Commitment

In 2013, the Australian Government committed an initial $42 million towards the Outback Way, for projects across the three northern jurisdictions.

$28 million under the Northern Australia Roads Program

In 2016, the Australian Government announced $28 million to upgrade Plenty Highway and Tjukaruru Road in the Northern Territory.

Projects

2016 $100 million Commitment

Queensland

Northern Territory

Western Australia

$28 million under the Northern Australia Roads Program (NARP)

Northern Territory

2013 $42 million Commitment

Benefits

The Australian Government investment in the Outback Way will increase the safety, accessibility and reliability of the route and improve the inter-jurisdictional transport network by increasing connectivity and significantly reducing travel times.

Upgrades will open opportunities for numerous industries along the corridor, including freight, pastoralism, agriculture, mining and tourism.

The investment in Outback Way will also deliver economic and social benefits for communities through increased employment opportunities and improved access to goods and services, particularly for remote and Indigenous communities. By improving access to health and social services, these upgrades help build on Australian Government initiatives intended to increase standards of living and equity for Indigenous communities.

Funding

The Australian Government will fund up to a maximum of 80 per cent of the total project cost in partnership with state and territory governments, and relevant local councils.

Timetable

Funding for the Outback Way is available from the 2013–14 financial year to the 2030-31 financial year.

Map

  • Map of the $330 million Australian Government Commitment to the Outback Way PDF: 8987 KB

Investment Strategy

Investment Strategy to inform the Australian Government’s commitments to upgrading the Outback Way PDF: 1334 KB