Road Min­is­ter big on trucks

Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver - – Cobey Bar­tels

RE­CENTLY AP­POINTED NSW Min­is­ter for Roads, Mar­itime and Freight Melinda Pavey de­liv­ered an op­ti­mistic open­ing speech at this year’s LBRCA Con­fer­ence, out­lin­ing her truck-fo­cused infrastructure plan.

Min­is­ter Pavey com­menced pro­ceed­ings by rem­i­nisc­ing about her time around trucks grow­ing up, an anec­dote that em­pha­sised her ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the trans­port game.

“Grow­ing up on a dairy farm, a cou­ple of dad’s best mates were truck driv­ers … and so I was just re­flect­ing as we were fly­ing in to­day, how I used to love, when I was a kid, trav­el­ling on the road,” Pavey says.

“We’d play on the CBs and all that sort of stuff.

“So I un­der­stand how im­por­tant this in­dus­try is to the econ­omy … to the peo­ple and to our com­mu­ni­ties through­out re­gional NSW.”

For­mer roads min­is­ter Dun­can Gay was pop­u­lar within the road trans­port com­mu­nity, a real­ity Pavey doesn’t shy away from.

“I know you’ve had an ex­cel­lent re­la­tion­ship with Dun­can Gay – be as­sured that re­la­tion­ship will con­tinue with me and our par­lia­men­tary team into the fu­ture.

“You’re front and cen­tre … you’re the peo­ple that get our bulk freight and our live­stock to mar­ket.”

A cen­tral point in the new min­is­ter’s ad­dress was the NSW gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to mov­ing road trans­port for­ward through a range of freight net­work infrastructure projects.

Re­gional ar­eas are a com­mon theme through­out these projects, backed by a $ 543 mil­lion pro­gram to as­sist lo­cal coun­cils in fix­ing coun­try road net­works.

“Fix­ing coun­try roads, it pro­vides tar­geted fund­ing to lo­cal coun­cils to re­pair and up­grade re­gional roads.

“We can’t stress how im­por­tant these roads are in con­nect­ing NSW.

“The pro­gram helps to fund projects which bet­ter con­nect lo­cal and re­gional roads to state high­ways and key freight hubs such as si­los, sa­le­yards, rail­heads, su­per­mar­kets, dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres, in­dus­trial parks and de­pots.

The NSW gov­ern­ment’s roads spend­ing has in­creased steadily in re­cent years and Pavey’s strong fo­cus on up­grad­ing the freight net­work sug­gests this is likely to con­tinue.

“Just to give you an idea of the scale of the in­crease in fo­cus in ex­pen­di­ture, and in money go­ing to coun­try roads, since we came to of­fice in 2011 we have in­creased the roads bud­get in NSW by 105 per cent and 65 per cent of that is go­ing to re­gional NSW.”

A $ 210 mil­lion bridge up­grade pro­gram has also been signed off, im­prov­ing ac­cess for heavy ve­hi­cles across re­gional NSW.

“We’re re­plac­ing or up­grad­ing old bridges over the next five years at 17 key lo­ca­tions across the state.

“By re­plac­ing and strength­en­ing old tim­ber bridges, this al­lows for a higher-mass weight ve­hi­cle to cross.”

While Pavey says it wasn’t ready to roll out at the LBRCA Con­fer­ence, the NSW gov­ern­ment is in the process of de­liv­er­ing a co-funded $10 mil­lion live­stock truck wash project.

“I was hop­ing I might be able to have the an­nounce­ment of the suc­cess­ful lo­ca­tions of fix­ing the coun­try truck washes.

“Be as­sured, it is al­most there and it’s com­ing – this will be re­ally im­por­tant to your fa­cil­i­ties to help re­move bot­tle­necks which con­strain lo­gis­tics busi­nesses.

“They also pro­tect NSW against the spread of weeds and dis­ease.

“The NSW and Australian gov­ern­ment … are each con­tribut­ing $ 5 mil­lion over the next two years to pro­vide co-fund­ing to el­i­gi­ble coun­cils,” she adds.

Pavey’s vi­sion of the freight net­work mov­ing for­ward will in­clude tack­ling Syd­ney’s con­ges­tion is­sues and catch­ing up on lag­ging road devel­op­ments, with a fo­cus on im­prov­ing the greater econ­omy.

“One of the chal­lenges we face is a lot of catch­ing on what hadn’t been done, but as well as plan­ning for the fu­ture and that ex­tends also through the Syd­ney net­work and a lot of that con­ges­tion bust­ing work we’re do­ing there in­volves toll roads,” she says.

“We all have to work to­gether as a state to im­prove our pro­duc­tiv­ity, to im­prove our econ­omy.”

Mellinda Pavey, NSW Min­is­ter for Roads, Mar­itime and Freight

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.