Cy­clone aftermath

Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver - GREGGREGBUSH BUSH

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.

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