News and Views

Government investment drives productivity gains for rural transporters

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Federal Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, recognised the vital importance of government investment in roads and infrastructure to aid Australia’s hard working livestock and rural transporters at an industry dinner.

Addressing the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association and Livestock and Rural Transport Association of Queensland National Conference, Federal Minister Hartsuyker said one of his key portfolio responsibilities included working to ensure a competitive and sustainable live export industry.

“Coming off the back of the suspension of live exports to Indonesia, 2013 was a tough and very lean year for the live export industry—with the total value of exports sitting at just over $930 million,” Minister Hartsuyker said.

“Fast-forward to 2015-16, and that number has more than doubled to nearly $2 billion. You can’t argue with stats like that.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting exporters of live animals by providing the roads and infrastructure required to transport live animals for export from point A to point B and beyond.

“The Australian Government is investing $50 billion in current and future infrastructure requirements, which includes $42 billion for the Infrastructure Investment Programme to build the road and rail infrastructure for the 21st century.

“We are investing in major upgrades and construction assisting agriculture more generally, including the Perth Freight Link, the Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin, the Bruce Highway, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, the Warrego Highway between Toowoomba and Miles and several cattle roads in the Northern Territory.”

Federal Minister Hartsuyker also updated attendees of the progress of the $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Programme, which will improve the resilience of cattle supply chains in northern Australia by upgrading key cattle roads and improving safety, while reducing vehicle operating and maintenance costs, and seasonal road closures.

“To inform this Programme, CSIRO recently applied the Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), with a view to maximising transport cost savings in beef supply chains across the north,” Minister Hartsuyker said.

“This tool considers transport from farms to storage, feedlots, processing, export ports, as well as domestic supply chains to distribution centres and retailers.

“TraNSIT works by analysing every possible combination of transport routes and modes (road and rail) and determining those that optimise vehicle movements between enterprises in the agriculture supply chain.

“It is a tremendous resource that will assist exporters and rural transporters achieve strong productivity gains, while planning for Australia’s future transport needs.”

Also speaking at the conference was Dr Rolf Gomes, founder of Heart of Australia, which is an innovative program that provides important healthcare services to regional areas.

“It was great to hear how Dr Gomes combined his medical and engineering background to develop Heart of Australia, which brings important specialist health care services to regional communities using a customized road train,” Minister Hartsuyker said.

At the conference, Mayor Liz Schmidt was also recognised for her contributions to rural and livestock transportation in Australia with an ALRTA Life Member Award.

Mayor Schmidt has been an executive member on the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association at state and national levels for 35 years, was the Australian Trucking Association 2006 National Transport woman of the year and was previously inducted into the Gatton and Alice Springs Halls Legends Transport Halls of fame.

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