The Territory's beef industry has made an election pitch for an increased focus on sealing roads.
Over a third of the sale price of an animal in the NT is lost to the cost of getting to port or for slaughter.
Most of the Territory's 22,000km road network (about 15,000km) remains unsealed.
According to the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association, many transport operators charge a higher fee for working on dirt roads.
This extra fee can be $0.60 per kilometre for a road train on top of their standard cartage rates.
The NTCA has released a $535 million strategic road funding wish list it says will create 3000 jobs and drive the economic growth of four industries.
NTCA president Chris Nott said road infrastructure was critical to the Territory dragging itself out of the economic hole it has found itself in.
"The identified roads are not just for the benefit of the cattle industry but also the resources (mining and onshore gas) and the tourism sector," he said.
"These are wealth generating infrastructure suggestions designed to ensure that the productivity of the Territory economy can be dramatically improved.
"We are seeking a $535 million injection of funds into key roads over a five-year period.
"This will create 3000 jobs and unlock the true productivity potential of regional and remote Northern Territory. We are asking for $5 million of those funds to be for a Design and Planning Fund. This is to ensure there are shovel-ready road projects."
"The Plenty Highway runs right past my front door and I can tell you it is a constant cause of frustration where this year properties were adding 800km-900km on to trips just to avoid the terrible state it was in," Mr Nott said.
The association suggested the following roads should receive more attention:
Marindja Road - seal selected sections. Key supply road for Livingstone Beef processing facility and live export depots in Darwin.
Sandover Highway - seal selected sections. Requires upgrade and seal to entire length.
Tablelands Highway - Strengthening and widening This road is part of the 24 per cent of sealed roads and requires major upgrade and reseal along its entire length. Currently deteriorating rapidly. Roughly 100,000 head of cattle traverse this road to Queensland primarily for either the domestic market or the live export market via the Port of Townsville.
Carpentaria Highway - Strengthening and widening upgrade to crossings, and bridges, seal widening, shoulder and seal maintenance required.
Buchanan Highway - Selected upgrades. Seal and upgrade to crossings and bridges. Major supply and link road through to the VRD from the Stuart Hwy for pastoral, mining and community.
Roper Highway - Seal selected sections. Part seal and upgrade. Major route for pastoral, mining and community. Coming under increasing pressure with further development of the region and expansion of communities and mining.
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