Deegan takes to roads around Casino

IA boss rides Fraser's truck to gauge infrastructure needs first hand

By Rob McKay | February 4, 2011

With the release of the National Freight Strategy looming, the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Coordinator, Michael Deegan, has travelled the NSW-Queensland border region to see the lie of the land first hand and hear about its transport needs.

Deegan travelled the Warwick-Killarney Road to Casino in a Fraser's Livestock Transport (FLT) truck with 85 head of cattle aboard

"You couldn’t say the road was in good condition," he told ATN, adding that it had been subject to recent landslides.

FLT Managing Director Ross Fraser says it is crucial that politicians and bureaucrats are given and take the opportunity to do as Deegan had done to gain a proper understanding of the challenges facing industry and transporters when dealing with deteriorating infrastructure.

While the Tenterfield and Kyogle councils had done what they could with upgrading bridges and road repairs, the amount of freight being carried in the region meant federal funds needed to be brought to bear.

Fraser hoped recent floods would mean a thorough upgrading of the Warrego Highway, which he described as "terrible".

Fraser praised Deegan for focusing on Australian infrastructure planning for the next 50 years, saying: "If we don’t do it, we’ll disappear."

Yesterday's ride was part of a visit to the region this week in which he also continued his dialogue with Trans Regional Amalgamated Infrastructure Network’s (Train). Proponents, who want to see better infrastructure links, especially rail, between the area and the Port of Brisbane, and local communities concerned that local links such as the Lismore Bangalow Road were taking freight traffic that they were note designed to handle.

The National Freight Strategy is expected to be released later this month.

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