A fitting tribute to a local legend has been floated for the name of a regional route connecting two major Pilbara towns.

The Red Dog Highway was initially suggested as the best name for the Karratha to Tom Price Road by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel last year. Now, with stage three of the route due to start later this month, the local member wrote to Transport Minister Rita Saffitoti last week asking her to consider the request. Mr Michel said the story of Red Dog had captured hearts across Australia and around the world since the movie’s release in 2011.

“We have the perfect opportunity to use this to help boost tourism and jobs in the Pilbara,” he said. “Karijini National Park will be unlocked with the sealing of this stretch of road, encouraging more tourists to visit the Pilbara.”

Ms Saffioti said Red Dog himself was often seen wandering along that stretch of road. “I’m sure renaming the road in his honour would entice many tourists to see this unique site for themselves,” she said.

“Red Dog is a fantastic film that has brought attention to all the Pilbara has to offer — the Australian red dirt, friendly local towns and Karijini National Park.”

The suggestion has been embraced by those who knew Red Dog closely, with vet Rick Fenny saying he believed it was a no-brainer to rename the road.

“Red Dog was born in Para-burdoo, so it is really celebrating his life’s journey,” he said.

“Of all the places I picked him up, most commonly it was on that stretch of road, just out of Tom Price or halfway between there and Karratha, he really did travel that road a lot.”

The next step in the renaming process is for Cabinet to consider and approve the name change.

Minister Saffioti is expecting to make a submission in the coming months.