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Territory government to improve access for remote Aboriginal communities

Callan Morse -

Access to the remote Aboriginal communities of Numbulwar and Ngukurr is set to be improved after the Northern Territory government announced funding for a crucial transit way to the Big Rivers and East Arnhem Regions.

A $20 million budget allocation will be used to upgrade Numbulwar Road's Phelp River crossing, to improve safety and access for both locals and visitors.

Currently, Numbulwar Road is impassable due to flooding for 44 days on average per year.

The project will include the construction of flood mitigation measures including concrete floodways, culverts and bridges around the Phelp River crossing, improving accessibility for tourists and the delivery of essential services to the region.

Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said once the project is complete, access to the Aboriginal communities of Numbulwar and Ngukurr will be vastly improved.

"Numbulwar Road between Ngukurr and Numbulwar is regularly closed during the wet season due to flooding of the Phelp River. At this location, the lack of crossing structures across a series of waterways prohibits access to Numbulwar for weeks at a time," she said.

"By upgrading the Phelp River Crossing, access to the communities of Numbulwar and Ngukurr for provisions, government services and social and cultural engagements will be significantly enhanced."

Numbulwar, located at the mouth of Rose River on the western coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, has a population of around 850 and is part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust whilst Ngukurr, located on the banks of the Roper River has a population of approximately 1200.

MP for Arnhem Selene Uibo said the improvements to road infrastructure will benefit those who live in and visit her electorate.

"This project is something I have worked for since being elected. It is great news for people who live in the East Arnhem region who have been advocating for some time for this type of infrastructure," Ms Uibo said.

"Better road access will cut the costs of getting goods and services in communities, which will benefit locals in Numbulwar and Ngukurr.

"We also expect to see an increase in economic opportunities as a result of this project, such as tourism opportunities and Aboriginal employment and Aboriginal Business Enterprise outcomes through the construction and maintenance of the road."

Continued upgrades to Numbulwar Road will also help enable potential future plans for a tourist link from Numbulwar to the Central Arnhem Road via the South East Arnhem Land track.

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