The Outback Way
The Outback Way is a 2,800 kilometre route linking Perth, Western Australia to Cairns in Queensland via Laverton, Warburton, Alice Springs, Boulia and Winton. The WA Government is responsible for the 980 kilometre section that lies between the Shires of Laverton and Ngaanyatjarraku.
In 1997 The Outback Development Council (OHDC) was established and successfully secured $20 million in government funding to upgrade the Outback Way. The upgraded section has resulted in a 20% increase in road usage.
Tourism funding has also seen the world's longest "geocache trail" developed on the Outback Way, HEMA Outback Way Guide Book and Atlas, interpretive panels installed and indigenous tourism experiences promoted along the route.
As a tourism link, the Outback Way is known as Australia's Longest Shortcut but as an infrastructure link the Outback Way is the Central Transcontinental Route across Australia and is essential to providing food, health and education services to communities and a transport route for freight, mining and pastoral industries.
The route provides a land link between the ports of Fremantle, Darwin, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone, Brisbane, Adelaide and Port Augusta and can provide productivity improvements for Australian goods distribution for local and export markets.
Currently only 1100 kilometres of the Highway are sealed and OHDC is working with local, State and Federal Governments to encourage the upgrading of the highway to a sealed National standard. The Federal Government May 2014 budget committed $33M to the project over the next three financial years (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17) and negotiations are continuing to secure further funds.