Road transport delivers the majority of freight to Ngukurr and Numbulwar – 320km and 480km west of Katherine respectively – and both communities have been identified as growth towns by the Northern Territory Government.
As part of the Council’s push to develop freight infrastructure, both communities will receive purpose-built facilities that include sealed heavy vehicle routes, undercover lay-down areas for loading and unloading, and dedicated parking.
The NT Government contributed $1 million through its Regional Economic Infrastructure Fund, while the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development will add $999,500 to the project as part of its National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF).
The Council has committed more than $300,000 to ensure the Growth Centre Transport and Freight Hub Project becomes a reality.
Director of Council and Community Services, Sharon Hillen, said the project meant supplies vital to the operation of both communities would no longer have to be unloaded in “a paddock of mud”.
“Right now, we have heavy vehicles manoeuvring into these towns without adequate heavy vehicle infrastructure, and that includes when they are unloading freight in dustbowls or a big, open paddock of mud, depending on the season,” she explained.
She added that the facilities would help improve local area traffic management and safety in Ngukurr and Numbulwar, as well as open the door to more regular freight deliveries.
“The heavy vehicles are interacting closely with the public at the moment,” Hillen said.
“It means we have vehicles, kids, forklifts and dogs; everybody interacting, because there are no formal lay-down areas, formal access or formal car parking, which the freight industry requires.
“We worked with the freight industry on this, and we had some freight companies say they would actually provide greater services to these remote destinations if they had more formal freight depots there.”