THE ANNOUNCEMENT from Queensland main roads and road safety minister Mark Bailey that the government is spending big money on upgrades to major roads around the state’s south east is welcome news for those ravaged by the recent Cyclone Debbie-related floods.
Queensland’s south east, particularly around the Logan Shire, Beaudesert, and the inland regions of the Gold Coast were particularly hard hit. Not to mention the north east of New South Wales.
However, it’s in Queensland’s central and north areas where the full brunt of Cyclone Debbie was felt.
Work on the Mackay Ring Road Project Stage 1 is soon to be completed, followed by the construction of the nearby Walkerston bypass, which will hopefully lessen the impact of further cyclones in that area.
Cyclone Debbie caused the Bruce Highway to be cut in a number of regions due to flooding, including around Proserpine, on both sides of Mackay and south of Townsville. The central Queensland city of Rockhampton was another to be hit hard from Cyclone Debbie’s aftermath due to flood waters from the swollen Fitzroy River.
Not only did this hinder Queensland Fire and Emergency Services from going to the assistance of those devastated by the floods, it also brought a halt to truck traffic delivering much-needed goods to and from the state’s coastal areas.
It forced some transport companies to shut down operations while waiting for the waters to subside.
However, it’s refreshing to hear that one company, Followmont Transport, opted to search for alternate routes rather than park up or stand in line behind the road-closed barriers along the Bruce.
Even better is that, despite the extra cost involved, Followmont did not pass those costs onto its clients.
Followmont says its foremost concern was delivering supplies to the local stores and pharmacies.
But spare a thought for north Queensland’s farmers. Bananas and cane in the far north and vegetable growers around Bowen have been particular hard hit, while the devastation suffered by mango growers means that particular fruit will be in short supply next summer. With the loss suffered by fruit and vegetable farmers in those regions, prices will most certainly rise in all parts of Australia.
But it’s the freight companies who will also be under threat. Less freight to haul means road transport businesses will be struggling to stay afloat.
And that’s not good news in the current climate where small to medium trucking outfits are already under the pump.