Northern Australia Pipeline of Projects

The Northern Australia Pipeline of Projects is an initiative identified in the 2015 White Paper on Developing Northern Australia (the White Paper), to coordinate a cross-jurisdictional (NT, QLD, WA) response to the infrastructure gaps and priorities identified in Infrastructure Australia’s Northern Australia audit. The Pipeline is not a funding program, it aims to identify potential infrastructure projects specifically for Northern Australia in the road, rail, ports, airports, water, energy, and communications sectors which may attract private investment interest and help accelerate project delivery.

Northern Australia Roads Program and Northern Australia Beef Roads Program

Through the White Paper the Australian Government committed $700 million towards upgrading the land transport infrastructure in northern Australia to make living and doing business in Northern Australia easier and more productive. The Australian Government has committed to 37 projects across both the $600 million Northern Australia Roads Program and the $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Program. These projects will help create quicker, safer and more reliable transport links for residents, tourists, producers and businesses.

The $600 million Northern Australia Roads Program will deliver upgrades to high priority roads in Northern Australia essential to the movement of people and freight to support the North's economic development. The road projects to be funded include those identified as priorities in Infrastructure Australia's Northern Australia Audit, or by the states and territories. >> http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/northern_australia_roads.aspx

The $100 Northern Australia Beef Roads Program will make targeted upgrades to key roads necessary for transporting cattle to improve the reliability, productivity and resilience of cattle supply chains in northern Australia, thereby reducing freight costs and strengthening links to markets. >> http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/northern_australia_beef_roads.aspx

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A $600 million program to deliver key upgrades to high priority roads across northern Australia. These road upgrades are essential to the improved movement of people and freight that support northern Australia’s economic development. Upgrades will include road widening, constructing overtaking lanes, and pavement renewal. Roads identified in Infrastructure Australia’s Northern Australia Audit, along with other roads identified by the states and territories, were considered for funding.

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Development of key water infrastructure, to provide long-term water security for the Darwin region. Using a combination of brownfield and greenfield water infrastructure, upgrades to key water supply infrastructure will support urban, commercial and industrial growth and support the Darwin Region’s central role in developing northern Australia. The scope of the current Darwin Region Water Supply Strategy may be broadened to provide bulk water supply for horticulture and irrigated agriculture.

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Developing an access road to Browns Range, for heavy rare earth mining and export to Wyndham Port. On the Western Australia / Northern Territory border, Browns Range contains significant deposits of dysprosium.This heavy rare earth is a key ingredient for emerging technologies and is used in the manufacturing of rare-earth permanent magnets and in electric vehicles and wind turbines.Improved road access will support a currently expanding resources operation to mine and process these deposits.

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Seal the 311 kilometre-long section of Tanami Road from Halls Creek to the Northern Territory border. Sealing Tanami Road will improve national connectivity, and support economic and social development across northern Australia. The project will significantly improve an important strategic road link between the north west of Australia and the east and south coast regions, benefit the agriculture, resources and tourism sectors, and improve access for remote communities to essential services.

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Upgrades to Karratha-Tom Price Road to improve journey times, road conditions and flood resilience. Sealing works and new alignment of 155 kilometres of road will provide a more direct and sealed road, linking the Pilbara’s coastal and inland regions, benefitting the resources and tourism industries, and local communities. Stages 3 and 4 will cut the journey by 60 kilometres and save one hour of travel time, improve safety and help address the frequency and duration of flood-related closures.

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A common-user iron ore export facility, servicing mines in Western Australia’s East Pilbara region. This proposed transhipment port will have a design capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) and initially export no less than 25 Mtpa of iron ore from the Pilbara Iron Ore Project (the foundation project) for an initial period of twenty years.The foundation project will establish the port facilities and associated infrastructure including rail, stockyards, conveyors, causeway and a jetty.

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An integrated aquaculture project for the large-scale production and export of high quality prawns. Seafarms Group has identified an opportunity to meet growing global demand for seafood, particularly in Asia. This large project will establish a low-cost production base with processing stages at several sites across northern Australia in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The Government of Western Australia committed $16.3 million to upgrade Moonamang Rd, improving freight access.

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Raising the Burdekin River Dam’s height by 2 metres to increase water supply and improve dam safety. Stage 1 of the project will ensure that the Burdekin River Dam meets best practice safety standards. This first stage is expected to cost approximately $250 million. The second stage of the project aims to raise the Burdekin Falls Dam by 2 metres and thereby increase the storage capacity by 590,000 mega litres to a total of 2,446,000 mega litres, and is estimated to cost approximately $300m.

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A new multi-user port and rail supply chain, exporting 350 million tonnes of bulk minerals annually. The project will support mining development in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia. Staged development of the Project provides for future demand allowing multi-user access for up to 4 major projects, with capacity for supply base activities to service offshore operations.The Port Master Plan provides for infrastructure corridors, marshalling yards, rail workshops & 2 industrial areas.

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Upgrades to road sections, stream crossings, and bridges, to improve access for remote communities. This 632 kilometre road links the East Arnhem region and the town of Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula to Katherine and the rest of the Northern Territory. The road is crucial to the movement of people and goods throughout the region. The road quality is poor, with over 92 per cent of the road length unsealed, and frequent weather restrictions or closures throughout autumn and spring each year.

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Upgrades to essential infrastructure, supporting economic and social development in regional areas. The resources sector is central to the Northern Territory’s economic prosperity.The scope of the initiative is to upgrade essential services infrastructure in regional areas that supports the resources sector and the economic and social development of regional or remote communities. Regional areas across the Territory are experiencing significant levels of resources development and exploration.

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Upgrading Exmouth Harbour’s port and cruise ship infrastructure to unlock tourism growth potential Exmouth is the northern gateway to the 300km long World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef, on Western Australia’s North West Cape. Cruise industry growth requires improved port infrastructure for Exmouth Harbour. Investing in essential port infrastructure will position Exmouth Harbour to meet substantial cruise ship demand, and support increasing supply and servicing for the offshore energy sector.

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This $1.64b project will increase channel capacity and add six new berths servicing larger vessels. Modern vessels are increasing in build size regularly. Expanding the channel and building larger berths will ensure the Port of Townsville’s long term future and global competitiveness. Larger vessels improve economies of scale, making it cheaper to import and exports goods from northern Australia. 9,000 jobs are currently connected to the operation of the port, and this is projected to grow.

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Upgrades to the Peninsula Developmental Road, Telegraph Road and Indigenous community access roads. Peninsula Developmental Road is a key regional road in far north Queensland connecting Weipa and Indigenous remote communities in Cape York to essential services, enabling the movement of freight, passengers and tourists to and from Cairns, via the Captain Cook, Kennedy and Mulligan Highways. The road is a critical spine of the road network in the Cape York region within far north Queensland.

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The Highway upgrades between Barcaldine and Cloncurry will improve freight productivity and safety. The Landsborough Highway is a key National Land Transport Network route, spanning western and north western Queensland. The Landsborough Highway supports freight and passenger movements in western and north-western Queensland, and provides access to and from key economic zones supporting the agricultural and tourism sectors, and the resources sector, including the North West Minerals Province.

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Potential future urban water demand in the Cairns area and the stimulation of irrigated agriculture. Located on the Walsh River, Nullinga Dam has been proposed as a new water supply to service future urban water demand for Cairns and stimulate irrigated agriculture in the region by supplementing existing irrigation water supplies. A Preliminary Business Case has considered the potential need for augmented water supply for Cairns and irrigated agriculture and will consider a range of options.

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The project will investigate establishing a hydro-electric power station at Burdekin Falls Dam. Based on the current dam size, a hydro-electric power station could generate 150 gigawatt hours. This additional capacity is equivalent to the annual energy use of 30,000 homes, and will complement the existing Koombooloomba, Kareeya, and Barron Gorge hydro power stations currently operating in North Queensland, and the 800 MW pipeline of renewable energy projects committed in North Queensland.

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The preservation of a rail corridor aims to improve rail freight access into the Port of Townsville. In line with TEARC’s 2017 business case, this project will consider preserving an eight kilometre freight line corridor, that will connect from the existing National Land Transport Network (NLTN) (Brisbane-Cairns, and Townsville-Mount Isa rail corridors) directly to the Port of Townsville through the Townsville State Development Area, via a corridor parallel to the Townsville Port Access Road.

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A $125m project to develop Whitsunday Coast Airport into an international tourism and exports hub. Building on the $40 million runway and passenger terminal expansion that commenced in 2017, this five-stage project will transform Whitsunday Coast Airport into an intermodal hub servicing international flights. As well as supporting growth in domestic and international tourism, the project will enable local aquaculture and agricultural producers to export directly into expanding Asian markets.

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Seal the remaining 94 kilometres of Maryvale Road between Alice Springs and the Titijkala community. The scope of this initiative is to seal the remaining 94 kilometres of Maryvale Road servicing pastoral properties, the Titjikala indigenous community, smaller outstations and the proposed Chandler Salt Mine. These seal works will improve driver and road safety, and provide future development opportunities for the growth of tourism, and mining exploration and extraction activity in the region.

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A multi-user multi-commodity port for iron ore and salt exports, and other products and concentrates. This greenfield port 70kms southwest of Dampier will be capable of annually exporting up to 20 million tonnes per annum of bulk commodities, comprised of 15 million tonnes of iron ore, 3 million tonnes of salt, and 2 million tonnes of other products and concentrates.Between 150 and 400 vessel movements are predicted annually.Development and construction applications will be finalised in 2018.

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A number of highway upgrades for high reliability all year round, improving freight and productivity. The project will improve flood resilience, accessibility, and safety on a number of sections of highway between Broome and Kununurra. Improvements include upgrading 13 single lane bridges, upgrading 4 floodways to 4 bridges between Nellie Springs and Sally Downs Well, various road and floodway upgrades, and the Ord River Stages 2 and 3, Turkey Creek, and Port Hedland Buttweld Road bypasses.

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The upgrade packages to Flinders and Barkly Highways will improve freight productivity and safety. These Highways are part of the National Land Transport Network and form a key east-west transport corridor across northern Queensland, connecting communities and economic zones between Townsville and Mount Isa and continuing into the Northern Territory. The Highways span 1,110 kilometres within the northern Australia catchment area and are key to the agriculture, resources and tourism sectors.

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Construction of a new weir at Rookwood on the Fitzroy River, to supply 76,000 mega litres per year. Anticipated to cost $350 million by Building Queensland, Rookwood Weir will support irrigated agriculture development and meet future water demand of residents and industry in Rockhampton, Gladstone and the Capricorn Coast region, supplying 76,000 megalitres annually of unallocated high priority water. Works include replacing utility services and access roads flooded by increased water storage.

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The upgrades packages will improve freight productivity and safety from Emerald to Charters Towers. The Queensland Inland Freight Route is a key interstate heavy vehicle road route being progressively developed to support north-south freight movements between Mungindi in New South Wales and Cairns in North Queensland. The Inland Freight Route connects the important coal and energy provinces of the Surat, Bowen and Galilee Basins and the key agriculture regions of Central and North Queensland.

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Seal Tanami Road from Alice Springs to the Granites Mine and gravel the road to the territory border. The scope of this initiative is to build a two lane sealed road from the Stuart Highway just north of Alice Springs, to Newmont’s Granites operations, a distance of 527 kilometres and upgrade a further 176 kilometres to a gravel road standard to the Northern Territory/Western Australia border. Road improvements would unlock substantial opportunities for the resources sector across the region.

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Bruce Highway Upgrades will improve safety, capacity and flood immunity between Rockhampton–Cairns. The Bruce Highway is the major north-south corridor in Queensland, connecting coastal population centres from Brisbane to Rockhampton to Cairns. Future upgrades to the highway will be considered during the development of a new “Vision for the Bruce Highway” along with five-year rolling action plans as part of the Queensland Government’s commitment under the “Future - proofing the Bruce” policy.

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Investigate options to improve movement of large vessels through the Clinton Channel at Gladstone. The movement of larger vessels (draft over 14 metres) through the Clinton Channel at Gladstone Port is resulting in interaction of swell forces between the passing vessel and vessels berthed at the RG Tanna Coal Terminal. These forces impact on the safe mooring and operations at the terminal. Gladstone Ports Corporation will investigate a number of options to improve safety and efficiency.

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Widening and deepening of the existing navigation channel in Cairns and deepening the existing navigation channel in Cairns. The Cairns Shipping Development Project involves widening and deepening the existing navigation channel to allow larger cruise ships up to 300 metres in length to berth at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal. This will help accommodate demand forecasts of 70 additional ships through Cairns Port each year by 2031 with homeporting, bunkering and the Brisbane Cruise Terminal.

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A common-user general cargo facility, including two Handymax berths, providing 500 metres wharfage. The project will ease congestion at the existing general cargo berths in response to significant growth associated with expansion in the iron ore mining sector. In addition to the Handymax berths, the project also involves dredging to 13.5 metres depth for improved vessel access, development of land immediately behind the berths, and causeway access from land-based facilities to the wharf area.

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A $100 million program of targeted upgrades to key roads necessary for improved cattle supply chains. By targeting upgrades to key roads used by the cattle industry the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program will improve the reliability, productivity and resilience of cattle supply chains across northern Australia, reducing freight costs and strengthening links to domestic and export markets. Benefits also include reduced operating and maintenance costs of vehicles, and seasonal road closures.

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A dedicated maritime maintenance, servicing, logistics, and engineering hub for Northern Australia. Strategically located at a central position on Australia’s northern coastline, this proposed facility includes a deep harbour with port and rail access, and substantial land-side development areas. The proposed Park is also located immediately adjacent to major onshore and offshore gas developments, providing a site uniquely placed to support regional maritime, resources and defence industries.