$132.5M FOR ROADS & MORE REST STOPS

Big Rigs - - FRONT PAGE - Kate Dodd kate.dodd@bi­grigs.com.au

MORE than 90 road safety projects have re­ceived a mas­sive fund­ing boost of $132.5m from the Aus­tralian Govern­ment, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack says.

Mr McCor­mack, who is also the Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Trans­port and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment, made the an­nounce­ment at the Power Up! NatRoad con­fer­ence on Hamil­ton Is­land.

Mr McCor­mack said the fund­ing was thanks to the sixth round of fund­ing from the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Safety and Pro­duc­tiv­ity Pro­gram.

He said more than 60 per cent of the road projects would be un­der­taken by lo­cal coun­cils.

“By up­grad­ing these routes and rolling out sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture such as rest stops and park­ing bays, heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors across the coun­try will en­joy safer, quicker and more pro­duc­tive jour­neys,” he said.

Un­der Rounds Four and Five, 135 projects have been funded across Aus­tralia with 86 al­ready com­plete.

Mr McCor­mack said his main mes­sage to ev­ery busi­ness owner was “your busi­ness is our govern­ment’s busi­ness”.

“When busi­ness, par­tic­u­larly re­gional busi­nesses are go­ing well, so is the na­tion,” he said.

“That’s why the Lib­eral and Na­tion­als’ Govern­ment is in­vest­ing heav­ily in practical mea­sures such as bet­ter, safer roads and ve­hi­cles, and in­sti­tut­ing man­age­able reg­u­la­tions to help your busi­nesses be the best they can be.”

Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ben Maguire said the fund­ing was a “huge win” for the ATA and its mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions.

“For a long time, we have cam­paigned for im­proved and more fre­quent rest ar­eas, and it’s ex­tremely re­ward­ing to have locked down such sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing,” he said.

“Ear­lier this year, I walked in the shoes of a truck driver and spent the night at a ‘best prac­tice’ truck rest area in New South Wales.

“The noise was far too loud, and the bath­room fa­cil­i­ties were poorly lit. Con­di­tions that would be un­ac­cept­able in any other work­place.”

The projects in­clude the con­struc­tion of a new ma­jor heavy ve­hi­cle rest area on the Golden High­way, a new heavy ve­hi­cle rest area at Young and in­stal­la­tion of toi­lets and fur­ni­ture at the Yal­goo rest area be­tween Walcha and Uralla.

“Our roads and rest ar­eas are a driver’s work­place and we have no chance of re­solv­ing fa­tigue if driv­ers are not pro­vided with ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­i­ties to en­sure a safe jour­ney,” Mr Maguire said.

“Hav­ing ap­pro­pri­ate rest area fa­cil­i­ties for heavy ve­hi­cles is not op­tional. It’s not nice to have; it is a fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ment.

“In­dus­try bod­ies and safety ad­vo­cates like Rod Han­nifey have cam­paigned on this is­sue for years, and I am pleased to see the govern­ment im­prov­ing safety for our truck driv­ers across the coun­try.”

The con­fer­ence tack­led some of the in­dus­try’s most chal­leng­ing top­ics.

■ Pick up the next edi­tion of Big Rigs for more cov­er­age of the event.

PHOTO: KATE DODD

POWER UP: Cel­e­brat­ing the fund­ing boost at the Power Up! NatRoad Con­fer­ence are (from left) NatRoad CEO War­ren Clark, NatRoad pres­i­dent Al­lan Thorn­ley and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Ben Maguire wel­comed the mas­sive fund­ing boost.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack at the Power Up! NatRoad Con­fer­ence.

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