Tablelands Regional and Mareeba Shire Councillors and staff recently met the Honourable Scott Buchholz MP, Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport on Ootann Road.
Minister Buchholz was travelling through North Queensland and visited Ootann Road at the request of the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils.
‘Ootann Road is our 90km inland highway and the unsealed sections of the road prevent year-round use,’ said TRC Councillor Annette Haydon.
‘If it can be weather-proofed, we can secure it as a reliable freight route to the eastern seaboards for agriculture, beef, mining and tourism industries and their suppliers.
‘Widening and sealing the full length of the road will improve transport and traffic safety, significantly reduce transport times and maintenance costs will be reduced.
‘Beef Roads and State Transport Infrastructure and Development Scheme funding, combined with a contribution from both councils sealed about 12km in 2018–19.
Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said Ootann is a strategic transport corridor for the region.
‘Ootann Road is an imperative link, connecting industry in Northern Australia with southern markets,’ she said.
‘As Australia’s third largest fruit producer and a producer of off-season temperate zone produce, there is a need for large volumes of freight to move from the region to southern and overseas markets.
Councillor Toppin said that many sections of Ootann Road are narrow and unsealed, and subject to road closures and load limits during the wet season, which impacts its reliability as a freight and tourist route.
‘Any work to progressively widen, seal and flood-proof this road will be reliant on funding from the Australian and Queensland governments and we will continue to advocate funding commitments from both levels of Government.
Minister Buchholz was impressed with the work completed to date and both Councils advocated strongly for further federal funding to complete the improvement work.
(L–R) MSC Mayor Angela Toppin, Brian Smith (transport industry), Assistant Minister Scott Buchholz, Frances Schafer (Queensland Trucking Association), TRC Councillor Annette Haydon and MSC Deputy Mayor Kevin Davies.