A $10 million solution to long-running transport issues in the beef capital of Rockhampton has been welcomed by the Cattle Council of Australia.
The Queensland State Government has announced a new route to the city’s abattoirs involving upgrades to several intersections to allow direct road train access.
Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith said the council had been working closely with AgForce to deliver this key piece of infrastructure investment for the Australian beef industry.
The upgrade was part of $50 million package announced for the Fitzroy region, including $40 million to replace timber bridges on the Dawson Highway, creating 32 jobs during the construction phase.
“This upgrade in Rockhampton will mean transport operators will be able to roll up to the abattoir without having to break up the road train into smaller configurations for the final part of their journey,’’ Mr Smith said.
He said road train access would reduce transport costs, and result in improved animal welfare and carcase quality.
“For beef producers, freight comprises 35 per cent of farm cost value making this initiative critical and a simple way to improve productivity,’’ Mr Smith said.
“It also makes things safer for the truck drivers who will no longer have to climb the trailers to cross-load cattle.’’
Cross-loading, or transferring cattle between road trains, is regarded as one of the most dangerous activities in the cattle transport supply chain.
“Until now, it was a necessity for road train drivers unable to legally drive direct to the meatworks through the city of Rockhampton,’’ Mr Smith said.
Valued at $10 million, stage one will deliver upgrades to two key intersections in north Rockhampton at Moores Creek Road and Musgrave Street, and Queen Elizabeth Drive and Bridge Street.
The intersections are among the five busiest in the city, with the improvements set to improve local traffic flow and deliver annual economic benefits of almost $1 million.
The upgrade is the first step towards allowing Type 1 (A-double) road trains to carry cattle to the Rockhampton abattoirs on Lakes Creek Road.
Mr Smith said the initial $10 million infrastructure upgrade was a major link in the central Queensland red meat industry, creating wealth throughout the supply chain back to beef producers.
“We look forward to future investment from initiatives such as the Northern Beef Roads program,’’ he said.
“Cattle Council will work hand-in-hand with all levels of government to make the road train access into Rockhampton a reality.’’[ends]
For further details contact Jed Matz on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0407 124 479.