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VFF slams Victorian road quality

The Victorian Farmers Federation believes improved maintenance of Victorian roads should be a key pillar to the Refresh of the Victorian Freight Strategy

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has submitted a report to the Victorian government’s ‘Refresh the Victorian Freight Strategy’ consultation phase and has stated a dramatic improvement to the state’s road network is needed to enable the road freight sector to reach its full potential.

It states the Victorian agriculture industry could “propel the state’s economy and surpass $20 billion of food and fibre exports” if road maintenance becomes a primary focus of the government, as improved surfaces will lower costs and improve efficiency.

VFF President Emma Germano says ensuring the efficient movement of food and fibre across the state is crucial to Victoria maintaining its relevance in the market moving forward.

“Victoria has the worst roads in the country. The freight strategy must set a vision for us to have the best roads in Australia,” Germano says.

“The total neglect of regional roads has happened in part because the previous freight strategy never identified maintenance as a priority. That is despite it having been a key ask of all freight and transport industry stakeholders.

“Victoria’s new freight strategy must include a dedicated piece focusing on agricultural freight. Transporting produce through our supply chains represents one of the most significant costs to Victorian farmers.

“Rising costs across the supply chain are making Victorian food and fibre less competitive. Terminal access charges for one of the stevedores at the Port of Melbourne have increased by 52.52 per cent in Melbourne, compared with 38.8 per cent in Sydney and 37.5 per cent in Brisbane.

“The cost of not planning for the future would be enormous. The demand for food and fibre is growing exponentially both domestically and overseas, and now is the time to set the foundations for a modern and efficient freight system that delivers for the decades ahead.”

View the VFF’s full submission to the Refresh of the Victorian Freight Strategy here.

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