Action item 8.16



75% Complete.
Consultation undertaken on draft policy, guideline, framework, Bill development.

That the Government assesses the impact that any heavy-vehicle traffic associated with any onshore shale gas industry will have on the NT’s transport system and develops a management plan to mitigate such impacts. Consideration must be given to:

  • forecast traffic volume and roads used;
  • the feasibility of using the existing Adelaide to Darwin railway line (or some other railway network) to reduce heavy-vehicle road use; and
  • road upgrades.
Target completion date

Stage 3.
To be completed by May 2022.

Reform area
Planning for industry
Project action
Improving roads and facilities
Lead agency
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics

Action item update

Implementation progress

CSIRO published a report in November 2021 to the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA). (Mapping future transport for improved planning and operation – GISERA ( The aim of the study was mapping out key impacts of road and rail network development for gas wells before onshore gas construction occurs in the Beetaloo Sub-basin.

The goal was to understand the potential changes in regional road and rail freight volumes on the established road network to allow the Australian and NT Governments and other stakeholders to use evidence-based information to plan management interventions to accommodate increased traffic from additional onshore gas development.

The study assessed the feasibility of the use of the existing Adelaide to Darwin railway line (or another railway network) to reduce heavy-vehicle road use by modelling the pipes for transport on rail from Darwin Port to Tennant Creek.

Feedback from industry stakeholders stated that transport of mining inputs to the Sub-basin would likely be on the road network due to access to suitable connecting rail services from existing supply locations and the combination of volume and timing of demand for resources and equipment. As a result a decision to model transport of well field inputs and outputs to and from the Sub-basin on road rather than rail has been taken.

The Northern Territory Government commissioned KPMG/GHD/Risc in 2019 who have completed studies on infrastructure and logistical requirements (Analysis of Infrastructure and Logistics Requirements for the Development of an Onshore Oil and Gas Industry in the Northern Territory) for the exploration and development stages of onshore oil and gas in the Beetaloo Basin under a range of supply and demand development scenarios.

The final report delivered an infrastructure gap analysis resulting in a summary of potential development scenarios, assessment of infrastructure requirements, infrastructure options and recommendations to support development of the Beetaloo Sub-basin from the exploration to implementation stages.

Section 3.2 of the report detailed recommended infrastructure upgrades (including roads) to support the development of the Beetaloo Sub-basin; including estimated timeframes for the delivery of these upgrade that align with projected exploration, construction and implementation timeframes.

The Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments have announced $367 million in road upgrades to the Carpentaria Highway, Buchanan Highway, Western Creek Road and Gorrie/Dry Creek Road.

The funded roads was informed by the KPMG/GHD/Risc report and is consistent with the CSIRO/GISERA study. These reports forms the basis for the management plan. The Roads of Strategic Importance, Northern Territory Gas Industry Road Upgrade Program (the Program) has been established to deliver these priority road upgrades throughout the Beetaloo Sub-basin, to improve safety and travel times, reduce vehicle-operating costs, and improve flood immunity to increase year round access.