LRTAWA slams WA access changes
Main Roads accused of undermining grain harvest efficiency
WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S rural transporters’ lobby has accused Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) of undermining grain harvest efficiency with mass management changes.
The Livestock and Rural Transport Association of WA (LRTAWA), which represents professional grain transporters, claims a new ‘agricultural pilot’ requirement for loads from the farm to the nearest restricted access network road, is a solution to an issue that doesn’t exist on the ground.
“Since the 2016/17 harvest, transporters have been operating successfully under innovative and progressive arrangements that enable restricted access vehicles to travel on non-accredited roads subject to a number of conditions,” LRTAWA president Stephen Marley says.
Conditions include driving at 40 km/h and displaying a flashing light.
Relevant roads must also be listed on an approved road list and given to the grain receiver and carried in the vehicle.
The association insists that over two harvests about 30 million tonnes of grain have been moved safely and that the requirement to use an agricultural pilot, who requires no special training, will not be safer than a professional transporter travelling at 40km/h with a flashing light.
“The previous ‘ forty and flashing’ requirement is a safe way to efficiently move grain from the paddock to a network road as the loads are visible and travelling slowly,” Marley says.
“Not only is the safety improvement questionable, it will reduce productivity, increase truck movements on these roads and costs to the grower.
The LRTAWA also has concerns that the efficiency imperative is failing to be recognised in the department.
“We have members who have been waiting a long time for route assessments to be completed, so the claim there is no longer a backlog is not matched by reality,” Marley says.
“It is a waste of resources to assess the hundreds of roads that carry a few loads a year at harvest when there are other more critical roads that need assessing.”
The hope at the industry body is that the upcoming state review of rural logistics announced by transport and planning minister Rita Saffioti and agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan in March, will address such issues.