3 December 2015
WA’s northern cattle industry says $100 million for road improvements is a start, but does not go far enough.
A fortnight ago National Party leader Warren Truss made a commitment to deliver on its pledge to improve northern beef roads as part of the Federal government’s Northern Australia white paper.
The $100 million will be allocated in addition to a $600 million roads package to improve vital infrastructure to support the growth of Australia’s northern cattle industry He said Malcolm Turnbull shared former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s commitment to developing northern Australia.
Mr Truss also attended the second Northern Australia Beef Roads Roundtable in Kununurra, which was an opportunity for WA cattle producers and other stakeholders to discuss the money pledged by the Government to fix northern roads.
At the roundtable, industry held discussions with Government to determine road upgrade priorities, before the next roundtable in Darwin next year.
The Northern Australia Beef Roads Program will make targeted upgrades to key roads necessary for transporting cattle; with CSIRO modelling identifying which road improvements will make the biggest long-term financial impact for the industry.
Kimberley Cattlemen’s Association executive chairman Peter Camp said concern had been building in the Kimberley that money would be disproportionately spent between the three States.
“The money will not go very far so, it’s important that roads connecting Broome and Wyndham with the Northern Territory are made a priority, he said.
“Some of the roads in the north are hazardous for cattle trucks to travel on because there are steep inclines which can have a terrible impact of cattle being pushed to the end of trailers, which is an animal welfare issue.
Mr Camp said a decision on road upgrade priorities should be finalised by June 2016.
“At the roundtable in Kununurra Mr Truss said he was in favour of an even distribution of funding,” he said.
“We have made our submission on what the priorities should be through Main Roads WA and Northern Beef Futures.”
Submissions for funding close on December 11, 2015 and will be reviewed in the next roundtable to be held on Darwin early next year.
Courtesy of The Countryman