Keeping the Territory moving

Article image - Keeping the Territory moving Blue Mud Bay road

The Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) plays a unique role among Australian peak municipal bodies in road management, maintaining a massive amount of the Territory’s roads.

Northern Territory councils manage 15,241km of the Territory’s local road network – of those LGANT manages 2118km, of which only 7.49km is sealed.

The Commonwealth’s Roads to Recovery program and the Northern Territory Government’s $4.9 million Regional Economic Infrastructure Fund and $5 million Improving Strategic Local Roads Infrastructure Program are the main funding sources for LGANT’s road maintenance.

Several recent upgrades project managed by LGANT are typical of the work the organisation has been undertaking over the past 20 years.

Due to the remote nature of the communities, projects are put out to select tender.  

Local job creation and associated training are a priority. In the Northern Territory, up to 80 percent of regional council employees are Aboriginal people.

Road projects in regional and remote areas enable the delivery of economic and social benefits to remote communities.

For instance at Robinson River, in the Roper Gulf Regional Council local government area, a new causeway at Four Mile Creek has ensured access to the local airstrip during the Wet Season.

The airstrip is critical to the community’s health and education services and to the delivery of perishable and general goods during the Wet, when the Wollogorang Road access route is closed due to rain.

High water levels at the Foelshe and Wearyan river systems prevent access to Borroloola and, to the east, the Robinson and Calvert Rivers block access to Queensland.

More than $756,000 was spent on the project, with the Northern Territory Government contributing approximately $500,000 and the remainder sourced from the Roads to Recovery program.

At Baniyala, the Blue Mud Bay community located 200km southwest of Nhulunbuy, 8.5km of the 55km access road was recently re-sheeted by local contractors LAMM Constructions. This was stage one of a three-staged strategy with a further 14 km to be re-sheeted in the 2016-17 financial year.

One of the most picturesque communities on the Territory coast, Baniyala has a school and a local store and is developing tourism to generate local employment and income. The upgrade is expected to improve visitor access to the community.

LGANT works collaboratively with other government agencies and recently resealed the internal sealed road network of the Canteen Creek community, approximately 230km south east of Tennant Creek.

This work was undertaken at the same time as the Northern Territory Government provided funding to seal the gravel airstrip servicing Canteen Creek. This level of collaboration meant there were significant savings in mobilisation costs.