A survey of South Australia's forestry industry on how to improve road transport for the sector has identified 32 issues, with some already resolved by the State Government.
The 'Improving Road Transport for Forestry Project' survey is a partnership between Primary Producers SA, Primary Industries and Regions SA and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).
Approximately 80 per cent of the industry provided feedback through the survey and other road transport consultation processes.
There are issues identified which have already been resolved by the State Government including:
- Freight vehicles up to 30m and 36.5m are now permitted on a number of roads in the South East (Performance Based Standards Level 2B and 3A) including Riddoch Highway and Princes Highway (part length between SA/VIC border and to Millicent).
- Improvement works at key junctions of Kilsby Road, Casterton Road with Tower Road, Riddoch Highway with Wandilo Forest Road have improved access and safety.
- DPTI and various councils have been actively assisting forestry transport operators to assess and approve commodity routes to worksites.
- Support for workforce development including the recent Forest Industry Employment Project, subsidising license upgrades for heavy vehicle operators.
Further responses included suggestions for infrastructure improvements and changes to specific intersections, as well as proposing wider considerations for productivity gains, workforce strategies and improvements to the permit application processes.
67 per cent of the issues related to route access and first/last mile issues.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said it was positive for the industry to have their say on what could be done to make their day-to-day work safer and more efficient.
"I'm pleased to see the industry provided comprehensive feedback on what has been hindering their transport needs, such as permit issues, night movement of overmass machinery and licencing requirements, and how we can improve these," said Minister Whetstone.
"The areas for improvement covered South Australia's forest production regions, including the Adelaide Hills, South East and Kangaroo Island.
"There is potential to unlock significant benefits for the industry by prioritising the development of key infrastructure needs, using new technology more efficiently and operating within a streamlined national regulatory environment."
The Federal Coalition and State Liberal Governments are continuing their infrastructure investments to assist transport operators with $14.6 million funding to complete the northern leg of the Penola bypass.
Acting Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government David Speirs said it was important to seek industry's views on road transport.
"We are seeking to ensure our primary producers are able to operate on our roads in a safe manner – for both the driver and other road users – and we aim to achieve that through taking appropriate action from these survey results," said Minister Knoll.
Primary Producers SA Chair Rob Kerin was excited to see the outcomes of the project benefiting the industry.
"I'm thrilled the survey resulted in a high level of involvement from the forestry industry and I look forward to seeing the outcomes making their work more productive," said Mr Kerin.
The forestry industry's sale of goods and services in South Australia is worth $2.3 billion each year.
The next step is for the State Government to review and prioritise the remaining issues for funding consideration.
View the survey report at www.pir.sa.gov.au/forestrytransport.