Work has started to seal a 40-kilometre stretch of the Great Central Road, a part of the Western Australian section of Outback Way.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the sealing works were part of what would become Australia's third transcontinental highway.
"Pre-construction works to source gravel and water are well underway with the construction team preparing to start works on the first section 11-kilometres east of Laverton," Mr McCormack said.
"The project includes the reconstruction and sealing the road surface, which will ultimately form part of the longer-term upgrade of the Outback Way.
"The project will link Laverton in Western Australia's Goldfields with Alice Springs in the Northern Territory and ultimately connecting to Winton in Queensland.
"We are continuing to roll out these types of major projects right across the country under our $100 billion infrastructure investment pipeline, which is supporting jobs and communities at a time when it's needed most."
Western Australian Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said sealing the Great Central Road would not only improve access significantly for local Aboriginal communities and industry, it would also provide a great Aussie Outback experience.
"Sealing the Great Central Road will allow more visitors to travel this iconic route and experience a true Western Australian Outback adventure," Ms Saffioti said.
"I'm pleased to see the work being undertaken by the Wongutha Way Alliance to maximise the employment of local Aboriginal people.
"Aboriginal employment is expected to well exceed the WA Government's nine per cent target for Aboriginal participation within the Goldfields.
"This project embodies our commitment to providing long-term, sustainable employment opportunities for Western Australians in the most remote parts of WA."
Federal Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson said the Outback Way had poor road standards and could be unreliable and unsafe.
"Many of the unsealed roads along the Outback Way suffer from corrugation, loose rocks and potholes and can be susceptible to flooding and wash-outs," Mr Wilson said.
"Sections of the route also have limited signage, which contributes to safety concerns. Heavy vehicle traffic along the route can also result in increased road damage.
"These sealing works will help to address some of these problems."
The $46.5 million project is jointly funded, with the Australian Government committing $37.2 million and the Western Australian Government $9.3 million.
Work on the first 40-kilometre section is expected to be completed by mid-2021, with a further 40 kilometres of upgrades to follow in 2021–22.
WA Transport and Planning Minister's office - 6552 5500