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Community, Local Government

From 2 States and the Territory they travelled to Canberra

Outback Highway Development Council Inc 3 mins read
Outback Way map

Outback Way Forum 2024: Paving the Future of Australia's Longest Shortcut

Canberra, June 30 - July 1, 2024 – Excitement is in the air as over 60 stakeholders gather in Canberra for the highly anticipated Outback Way Forum 2024. This landmark event is set to bring together key players to discuss the significant benefits the sealing of the Outback Way will bring to Australia.

The Outback Way, an iconic stretch from Laverton in Western Australia to Winton in Queensland, traverses through Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, creating a vital new transport route that connects the east coast to the west coast of Australia. As the highway undergoes its transformation to a sealed road, it is poised to become a bustling corridor of commercial investment and development, fostering a network of intermodal hubs and industrial estates.

Intermodal hubs—facilities designed to manage the exchange and storage of shipping containers over long distances—will unlock new commercial opportunities in the Outback and beyond. This will pave the way for significant business and investment opportunities across transport, freight, mining, agriculture, tourism, accommodation, roadhouses, environment, and clean energy sectors.

Rick Britton, Mayor of Boulia (QLD) and a passionate advocate for the project, remarked, "The Outback Way is not just a road; it's the backbone of economic growth for regional Australia. By developing intermodal hubs in Laverton, Winton, and Alice Springs, we are unlocking the full potential of this vast landscape, fostering commercial opportunities, and improving the quality and liveability of local communities."

The Outback Highway Development Council is hosting the Outback Way Forum 2024 to engage participants in strategizing ways to capitalize on these opportunities.

About The Outback Way

Known as "Australia's Longest Shortcut," the Outback Way spans over 2,700 kilometers from Laverton in Western Australia to Winton in Queensland, passing through Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. This vital corridor connects remote communities, supports local economies, and offers a unique travel experience through the heart of Australia.

“It’ll make the existing businesses more sustainable and encourage new investment to the regions,” said Mayor Britton.

The Outback Way is Australia's third transnational route, connecting Cairns and Perth through Alice Springs. The highway is currently being sealed with the support of $1.2 billion in federal government funding, including 20% from state and territory contributions. Set to be completed by 2032, the Outback Way promises unparalleled national benefits in productivity, economic development, tourism, and community connectivity.

Sealing the road is only the first step in realizing these benefits, with numerous infrastructure, safety, and community considerations to be planned, developed, and delivered. Canberra is set to be the meeting place for the Outback Way Forum 2024, from June 30 to July 1, with stakeholders from community, industry, business, and government coming together to collaborate and coordinate.

Patrick Hill, OHDC Chair, emphasized, “Stakeholders are invited to work with us to develop this plan. This roadmap will be used for future economic development associated with and along the Outback Way.”

“This project has grown from sustained grassroots collaborative local councils campaign. All stakeholders are invited to the forum, we need to ensure everyone’s voice is heard and contributing to the vision for the next 10 years and beyond,” added Mel Forbes, General Manager of the Outback Highway Development Council Inc. “It’s time to get everyone to the table.”

By facilitating dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders, the Forum seeks to pave the way for strategic partnerships and sustainable development initiatives between regional and Indigenous communities, as well as the freight, mining, agriculture, livestock, and tourism industries.

Key objectives of the Outback Way Stakeholder Forum include:

- Creating opportunities for economic development, job creation, and investment in regional areas through improved infrastructure and access.

- Promoting connectivity across remote regions and fostering stronger ties between communities, industries, and government.

- Improving safety and access to health, education, and social services for remote Australians.

- Supporting and growing Australian tourism by leveraging the Outback Way to showcase the diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and unique experiences that Australia's outback has to offer.

The Outback Way Forum 2024 serves as a pivotal platform for stakeholders to share insights, exchange ideas, and forge partnerships that will shape the future of this transformative project—a nation-building initiative with ongoing benefits for all Australians.

For more information,

Contact details:

Melanie Forbes 

General Manager, Outback Highway Development Council Inc. 


Phone: 0488 739 539


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