Sealing of the Karratha to Tom Price Road is slated to begin in the 2018 dry season following confirmation of funding to get the next stage of the project on track.

The State Government honoured its election commitment in last week’s State Budget, directing $50 million to get stage three sealed.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said she was confident the remaining legwork would be completed in time to start laying down tarmac next year.

“We have done the work and we believe stage three can be done for that amount of money,” she said.

“We are now talking to mining companies and the Federal Government about how we might get some assistance on (stage four funds).”

North West Central MLA Vince Catania said the $50 million was welcome but unlikely to go far.

“$50 million is welcome, but it falls well short of the $350-$600 million needed to complete the road,” he said.

Mr Catania said the State Government had to ensure local businesses were used to build the road.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel recently raised the idea of renaming the road Red Dog Highway.

The road seal is critical in order to attract a drive-in, drive-out workforce from the proposed Flinders Mine site to Karratha and Tom Price.

In Parliament last week, Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw said the State Government would bring on a Bill “very shortly” to progress a State Agreement with BBI Group.

“That project alone will deliver 3300 construction jobs and 900 ongoing jobs,” she said.

“We need to send a very clear message that investing in Western Australia is secure, the investments can be counted on, and the terms of agreements will be honoured and, if they need to change as circumstances do, that will be negotiated.”

A BBI Group spokesman declined to provide an update on the project but welcomed funding to seal the road.