Unsealed freight routes breaking trucks: SARTA

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

SARTA's Steve Shearer says the poor condition of freight links such as the Strzelecki Track are damaging trucks

Unsealed freight routes breaking trucks: SARTA
Important links are being ignored by governments

Deteriorating freight routes that are infrequently used in South Australia should not be overlooked by the governments, the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) says.

SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer is calling on the State and Federal Governments to fix dirt routes that are still used by many operators.

With some 200 transport companies delivering freight on the unsealed Strzelecki Track each year, many are hit with rising maintenance costs that are passed on to customers.

The cost of running a truck on such roads can be up to $200,000 each year, he adds.

"The Strzelecki Track points out a much bigger issue; how do we ensure that freight routes that don’t have a lot of freight volume but which are none the less very important for those operators that use those roads and for the communities and industries that they service, are maintained?" Shearer says.

"The track is so bad that it breaks trucks, there’s no question about it.

"When governments look at priorities they tend to look at roads that are the most used."

He has questioned the purpose of the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment (HVCI) Reform, saying ministers will "never give up control over road funding at any level".

"The Strzelecki Track is a good example of the need to improve funding allocation but we must not get sucked into believing that HVCI is the solution because it’s got a fundamental flaw because it depends on ministers giving up control and that is just pie in the sky rubbish," Shearer says.

"Sadly, governments don’t generally see a lot of votes in rural roads because there aren’t a lot of people.

"The concept of HVCI taking the control away from politicians is sound but it’s unrealistic, politicians just wouldn’t agree and you wouldn’t expect them to.

"We have a serious issue here and the only solution is for general revenue from government to be allocated as part of government responsibility."

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