LRTAWA slams WA ac­cess changes

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

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.

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