The truck wash-out network across New South Wales is set to receive a major boost through a $10 million Coalition initiative to build and upgrade wash-out facilities, reducing effluent spills and improve road safety.
Federal Minister for Regional Development and Senator for New South Wales Fiona Nash, State Minister for Roads Duncan Gay, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan and State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis made the announcement today at the Grafton Regional Livestock Selling Centre.
The joint initiative – Fixing Country Truck Washes – has been designed to target key livestock routes or effluent ‘hotspots’ across New South Wales where wash out facilities are inadequate to meet the demand of the livestock transport task.
Minister Nash said the joint funding commitment demonstrates a focus from the Coalition on delivering improved outcomes for rural and regional industries.
“The meat and livestock industry is vital to our local communities and is a driving force of our national economy – it is essential we foster its ongoing success,” Minister Nash said.
“As a farmer myself, I understand the importance of providing adequate infrastructure to support local transport operators and this new initiative will help them to go about their daily business in a more efficient and productive manner.”
Minister Gay said effluent spills from trucks had widespread impacts across the state and establishing new wash-out facilities would deliver important flow on benefits to local communities.
“Effluent spills create increased road safety issues and adverse impacts through potential spread of weed and disease, not to mention negatively impacting local amenity,” Minister Gay said.
“We are committed to filling in the gaps in the livestock truck wash-out network that prevent stock crates from being cleaned out appropriately between loads – this will reduce truck journeys required to find alternate wash out locations and greatly contribute to reducing truck effluent loss.”
Mr Hogan said local communities in the Page electorate would notice a marked improvement from upgrades to facilities like Grafton Regional Livestock Selling Centre, which processes 1,000 head of cattle a week and is on a key freight route.
“The current facility at Grafton is located on the junction of the Gwydir Highway and Pacific Highway, it has B-Double trucks coming in from every direction every day of the week,” Mr Hogan said.
“The current facility at Grafton includes one wash-out bay capable of fitting one single semi-trailer at a time – it is a choke point on sale day and is unable to meet the current throughput.
“By upgrading Grafton to install another wash-out bay and increasing the bay size to accommodate B-Doubles we cut wash out times by up to half, better meet the truck demand and ensure trucks don’t go back on the road unwashed.”
Mr Gulaptis said industry had started identifying key hotspots but the program would be open to all eligible regional councils to make an application.
“Industry has identified effluent hotspots across the state where funding would make a noticeable improvement – this includes building new wash out facilities, upgrading existing facilities to handle larger trucks and improving wash out equipment,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“We want to get the best outcome for communities and will open up to councils to submit applications to determine the best upgrade for different locations.”
Eligible councils are encouraged to work with industry and contribute to ensure funds are leveraged to deliver the best outcome across the state.
Councils can submit applications on behalf of a consortium that includes the private sector and other organisations.
Fixing Country Truck Washes funding submissions will be open from 1 August 2016 until 30 September 2016.
Further information on Fixing Country Truck Washes, including application forms, are available from: www.freight.transport.nsw.gov.au