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WARTA welcomes rural roads cash as a start

Industry body points to anchor on transport of 40 per cent of national exports


The extra $89 million in Western Australian country roads funding must be the start of a concerted effort to improve export transport efficiency there, the WA Road Transport Association (WARTA) believes.

Whilst congratulating premier Mark McGowan and transport minister Rita Saffioti on the weekend’s funding win, WARTA executive officer Cam Dumesny points out the state trucking industry’s ability to properly service exports totalling 40 per cent of national income has been curtailed due to a historic lack of rural infrastructure investment.

“To generate this income, regional communities depend almost entirely on the WA road transport industry to carry in supplies and transport much of their products/produce to market,” he says.

“But in delivering this vital task to the nation, WA road transport operators are forced to pay a high price in vehicle operating costs due to damage and/or accelerated wear caused by poor road freight networks.

“We are not talking minor roads, we are talking about major roads such as the Great Eastern Highway and Great Northern Highway, where some transport companies have mandated lower speeds on whole sections due to the appalling state of the highways.

“It is incredibly unfair on the WA road transport industry that they carry the bulk of the nation’s freight task to support the Australian Export economy, this is especially so, when they also pay the highest price in vehicle damage and road safety due to poor infrastructure.”

WA companies already pay more than $80,000 annually in fuel excise and another $20,000-plus a year in registration charges to operate a single triple road train travelling the average annual distance, he adds.

“But to compound these already high charges, poor road conditions mean maintenance and operating costs are substantially higher,” Dumesny says.

“Not many people would like to pay $21,000 twice a year for a full set of tyres, but the WA industry is forced to.”

The concern about the state of rural roads was compounded this year by flood damage in February which prompted a WARTA call to end what it sees as federal funding neglect.

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