Australian grain producers and transporters are being urged to vent their concerns about the current state of local roads – especially the impacts on farm productivity and community safety.
Responses will be used to help inform Grain Producers Australia’s submission to a new inquiry into rural roads being held by the Federal Parliament and Chaired by Solomon MP, Luke Gosling.
This week the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport launched a new inquiry into the implications of severe weather events on the national regional, rural, and remote road network. HERE
GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said severe flooding and weather events have caused significant damage to many road networks that are used to transport grain from farm to storage sites, in large trucks and heavy vehicles, while also impacting farm machinery movements.
He said this added to serious crop damage and losses for growers already facing ongoing challenges with harvesting the most expensive crop they’ve ever produced, due to record high input costs.
“We thank and welcome the Committee’s examination into the implications of recent severe weather events on the national regional, rural, and remote road network,” he said.
“However, many growers and transporters who use these roads regularly, not just this harvest, will have some strong views about the history of these roads and why we’re actually in this situation.
“They’ll have a story to tell about how we got here due to gradual deterioration or neglect – not just the recent proliferation of potholes – and some firm advice on where we need to go in future.
“GPA wants to hear these stories, to inform our submission and ensure growers’ views are heard.
“This is also an important an issue in WA and SA where growers are currently harvesting and transporting record crops, not just for east coast grain growing regions hit by severe rains.
“It’s important we take this opportunity to have a say and help build a more resilient road network that supports a more profitable and sustainable grains industry and safer communities.”
GPA Northern Director and Moree grain producer, Matthew Madden, recently urged the Federal Government to fast-track emergency funding sources, to help repair damaged roads urgently.
The Committee inquiry follows a referral from the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King. Growers and other interested parties can provide their responses via email to GPA HERE
The inquiry’s current deadline for submissions is Tuesday 28 February 2023.