Coun­try road fix ben­e­fits all of us

Tasmanian Country - - OPINION - Wayne John­ston

THERE is noth­ing like a Tas­ma­nian spring and sum­mer to en­cour­age more lo­cals out on the roads to ex­plore our lovely state.

Tas­ma­nia is also a mag­net for tourists from across the coun­try and the world keen to en­joy the splen­did things that we have to of­fer.

Tourism, the value of the Tas­ma­nian brand and the sig­nif­i­cant growth of the agri­cul­ture sec­tor and our high-value pro­duce are all con­tribut­ing to a boom for the state that we should all be very proud of.

But as the pop­u­lar­ity of our state con­tin­ues to grow, so do the de­mands on and for in­fra­struc­ture. What trav­ellers, tourists and the gen­eral pub­lic of­ten fail to re­alise is that what may be their sight­see­ing sea­son is peak pro­duc­tion sea­son for the farm­ing com­mu­nity.

Farm­ers do not have the ca­pac­ity to shut down for the week­end or hol­i­days and we of­ten find our­selves work­ing over the fes­tive sea­son.

Peak pro­duc­tion ne­ces­si­tates more ir­ri­ga­tion, more mov­ing of stock and some­times mov­ing farm ma­chin­ery. Th­ese are all bound by strict rules and reg­u­la­tions. While this usu­ally goes on out of range of most of the trav­el­ling pub­lic some­times, just some­times, there is no avoid­ing it.

As farm­ers we ask you to be mind­ful of sig­nage and con­di­tions when ven­tur­ing on to coun­try roads. We do our very best to keep ev­ery­thing nicely pack­aged in pad­docks, but to coin a phrase, farm­ing hap­pens. Be pa­tient. En­joy the drive and the views but un­der­stand that what is your hol­i­day ad­ven­ture route or short­cut is ef­fec­tively our back­yard.

We would al­ways pre­fer to keep farm ma­chin­ery off ar­te­rial routes, but some­times that is not pos­si­ble. We do our best to keep dis­rup­tions to your day to a min­i­mum. In re­turn we ask for your un­der­stand­ing and pa­tience.

We’ve all had to learn to live with de­lays that come with ma­jor road projects around the state, par­tic­u­larly on the Mid­land Hwy, but ul­ti­mately un­der­stand the speed vari­a­tions are in place for a rea­son, and the long-term gain from th­ese in­fra­struc­ture up­grades will ben­e­fit ev­ery­one.

We ac­knowl­edge that without this key in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment, growth ca­pac­ity in the state will be se­verely im­pacted. How­ever, at the TFGA we also be­lieve that gov­ern­ments’ fo­cus should also ex­tend to the re­gional road net­work, in­clud­ing roads owned by lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Many ru­ral roads have poor sur­faces and lack sealed shoul­ders and veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment. As the pub­lic ven­tures fur­ther into our coun­try­side it is im­por­tant th­ese routes get the at­ten­tion they de­serve.

The long-term gains for the agri­cul­ture sec­tor and tourism, and road safety in gen­eral, will also prove to be some­thing that we can all be proud of.

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