The Northern Territory Government, in partnership with the Australian Government and Litchfield Council, have released a tender to upgrade and seal 15.2 kilometres of gravel roads. Improvements will support the Territory’s mango industry by reducing the risk of roads flooding during the wet season; making access between farms, packing sheds and export markets easier; and increasing freight capacity.
About 40,000 tonnes of mangoes are grown on 6350 hectares in the Territory – with Litchfield the heartland of the industry, accounting for nearly 24 percent of Australian production.
Louise McCormick, General Manager of Transport and Civil Services at the Territory Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, says the Mango Roads initiative is an important partnership between all levels of government to unlock regional economic growth through improved and safer freight movements for contractors, workers and residents.
“We’re committed to providing important infrastructure upgrades that help to develop the Territory’s key agricultural industries,” she says. “The shared funding responsibilities between the three tiers of government enable earlier delivery, greater scope and procurement efficiencies to deliver the Mango Roads project.” Litchfield Lord Mayor Maree Bredhauer says the Mango Roads initiative follows the council commissioning an economic analysis to develop a business case for the project.
The analysis showed there would be a 9.3 percent return in economic growth on the $21 million investment. Ms Bredhauer says the business case stated that fruit is devalued by being trucked on corrugated, potholed roads, and pollination is reduced in the first few rows of trees due to dust. “The Mango Roads project aims to improve the productivity of the region by addressing fundamental problems undermining the capacity of the industry to deliver more high-quality fruit.
“The production of more fruit will generate local jobs, advance the supply chain, increase local sales at competitive prices and contribute to the growing local economy.”
The initiative is jointly funded by the Australian Government ($15 million), Territory Government ($3 million) and Litchfield Council ($3 million). It is being delivered by the Territory Government through the Roads of Strategic Importance program.
The four roads being upgraded are:
• Chibnall Road between Old Bynoe and Leonino Road (5.4 kilometres)
• Mocatta Road between Whitstone and Acacia Gap Road (3.2 kilometres)
• Horsnell Road between Elizabeth Valley and Alverley Road (3.4 kilometre)
• Kentish Road between Hopewell Road and the end of seal (3.2 kilometre).
Tenders for the first three roadworks are expected to be awarded soon. The work will create about 36 jobs on site, plus supply chain and subcontract workers. Kentish Road requires additional planning, investigation and design, which means the package will not be awarded until next year.
It is expected to be completed in the 2021 dry season and create about 12 on site jobs, plus supply and subcontractors. Access for local residents and businesses will be maintained during work on all four roads.
The Mango Road project team will contact businesses and residents along the construction routes via email for those who registered their address, mail to property owners and notices attached to front gates, as well as providing updates on a website.
The notices will be issued when more precise construction schedule time frames in each location are available to gain an understanding of access needs and to mitigate impacts of construction where possible.
For more information, visit communications.dipl.nt.gov.au or call 08 8946 5156. TQ