Author Topic: Whinging farmers at it again - paying for the roads they use  (Read 5165 times)

WA Export News

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Whinging farmers at it again - paying for the roads they use
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2014, 02:06:55 AM »
  Exporters to pay 

WA growers are worried a heavy freight highway to Fremantle Port, estimated to cost $1.57 billion, will hit their hip pockets.

Member for the Agriculture Region Darren West said the Barnett Government had no desire to support rail, live export or farmers with its plans to build the toll freight link.

"We have worked out that is about 13 cents a head for every sheep that we export live," Mr West said in Parliament last week.
           Scott Pickering, Cascades.We use that port for export of live sheep, so we will be lumped with the costs yet again.
Scott Pickering, Cascades.     
"I thought Members (of Parliament) opposite supported the live export industry, but we will have to pay about 13 cents per head every time we send a sheep down that road. 

"The trucks will be kicked off the roads which they use for free and which are not congested for 20 hours a day."

The Barnett Government plan to build a truck highway is expected to establish the Roe Highway as the preferred east-west freight route in Perth.

The works are expected to include a five kilometre Roe Highway four-lane dual carriageway extension from the Kwinana Freeway to Stock Road in Coolbellup and improvements to Stock Road and High Street. 

The highway aims to give heavy vehicles easy access to the port, with no traffic signals, to reduce the time and costs of transport however the Government will enforce a toll on heavy vehicles
for the 5km highway stretch.

The Federal Budget outlines that funding from the Commonwealth will include $925 million for the Perth Freight Link project, which is not due to open until 2021.

To make up the difference, the Commonwealth and WA Governments will seek opportunities for private sector co-contribution, creating the first toll road in WA.

Federal Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss's office said in a press release last week that private co-investment would ensure maximum value was achieved from taxpayer dollars with a minimal effect on the Budget.

WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder's spokesperson said the State Government's position on the toll was clear there would not be a toll for private cars.

It was too early to speculate what the cost would be for heavy vehicles.

"The proposal would take heavy vehicle traffic off local roads, meaning greater safety, less noise and congestion and will be a major boost to the productivity of our freight network," Mr Nalder's spokesperson said.

"There are already charges levied to industry involving heavy vehicles and we would like to explore what opportunities there are to provide productivity gains in the freight industry by ensuring
they have clear and safe passage from Fremantle Port to their destinations."

Livestock and Rural Transport Association president Stephen Marley said the toll proposal was grossly unfair, as exporters would pay the cost of an unnecessary road.

"Exporters will be hit the hardest," Mr Marley said.

"It's really sad that anyone who carts anything on a truck and uses Fremantle Port is going to be paying for it.

"They are trying to solve a congestion problem for cars and make it easier for them. Trucks really don't need this freight route, cars do, but they are going to make trucks and freight pay for it that's unfair."

Mr Marley said he used the road frequently and believed a cheaper alternative would be to extend the existing lanes to three.

York farmer and Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said it was good to see a plan to get trucks off Leach Highway but he was disappointed it came with a price tag.

"They always needed a better link into Fremantle," Mr Seabrook said.

"But, at the end of the day, farmers, producers and anyone who use heavy vehicles to cart products from the port will pay.''

WAFarmers president Dale Park said he wanted to ensure farmers didn't get lumped with tolls.

"The Government has directed funding to critical infrastructure projects, which will enhance the agriculture sector, specifically the Perth Freight Link," Mr Park said.

"We will be following the development of this project closely to ensure there is no harm to farmers through the burden of potential toll roads."

The Link's final scope and design will be determined in consultation with the WA Government and local community.

The Federal Government announced via the Budget that it would be working with the State Government to build better infrastructure in WA.

The Abbott Government committed an additional $11.6 billion for a national infrastructure growth package, mainly focused on roads and critical infrastructure. 

WA will receive a total $4.7b for infrastructure projects.

The State Budget papers also outlined ongoing investment in road infrastructure to support and grow the WA economy. 

Initiatives include Gateway WA, NorthLink WA, the Swan Valley section, NorthWest Coastal Highway from Minilya to Baradale, Great Northern Highway from Muchea to Wubin stage 2 and

NorthLink WA, Tonkin Highway grade separations and the Leach Highway High Street improvements.

SUE and Scott Pickering, Cascades, run a 3600 hectare broadacre farm and said the new highway costs would ultimately come back to them as they supply sheep for live export and use
fertilisers and chemicals that come through Fremantle Port.

"If they had a toll for all road users, not just for the trucks, that would be fair," Ms Pickering said.

"I don't think we should be left with the bill. The trucks will be taken off Leach Highway, so we will be doing (all road users) a favour. 

"Once the highway is paid off they could lift the toll, but that will never happen I'm afraid."

Ms Pickering said farmers are price takers, they have to continually take on costs and this would be no different.

Mr Pickering (pictured), said all heavy vehicle users from container carriers to fuel trucks would be slugged with the extra costs.

"We are stuck with the costs, but what about those other road users," Mr Pickering said.

"It will help the city folk, with less congestion.

"We use that port for export of live sheep, like many others, so we will be lumped with the costs yet again."

 JACINTA BOLSENBROEK  22 May, 2014 01:00 AM
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 02:08:40 AM by WA Export News »