WA councils to ban grain-carrying trucks

Issues surrounding WA's wheat industry transport system is set to intensify, with councils threatening to ban grain-carrying trucks

The issues surrounding the Western Australian wheat industry’s transport system is set to intensify, with the WA Local Government Association threatening to ban grain-carrying trucks from local roads.

The WA Government decision to dismiss the deadline from WestNet Rail to commit to a $45 million upgrade of the rail infrastructure used to carry grain has plunged the future of grain transport operations into jeopardy.

Local councils, which operate 73 percent of the State’s roads, have baulked at allowing trucks to pick up the slack, claiming the road network cannot support a spike in heavy vehicle numbers.

Currently, trucking operators need to obtain concession permits from local governments to use heavy vehicles on local roads, but WALGA President Bill Mitchell has flagged the option of scrapping them for grain-carrying trucks.

Mitchell made the comment after meeting with shire presidents and chief executives from local governments, which he says would be affected by the increased presence of trucks throughout the region.

"If grain can no longer be transported by rail then it will be taken to port by road and that potentially has a significant impact on the costs to local governments in repairs and maintenance," Mitchell says.

"It is not a solution to the need to fund rail upgrades by shifting the transport of grain to local roads as this just creates the need for more expenditure on road maintenance."

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