GPSA advocates for ‘first mile’ solutions

Dec 10, 2017

Stock Journal column by Darren Arney

Many roads within South Australia’s local government network received ‘last mile’ attention in the first stage of the 90-Day Change @ SA Improving Road Transport for the Agriculture Industry Project.

Some of these included B-double access to the Eudunda grain bunker and silos and access for road trains and other higher productivity vehicles from Port Wakefield Road to the Roseworthy grain receival centre.

These vital ‘last mile’ heavy road freight links afford benefits to all South Australians by improving performance, productivity and safety for all road users.

However, there are many thousands of kilometres of sealed and unsealed roads under local government control that grain producers are unable to access for heavy vehicle freight pathways to market. ‘First mile’ access issues are restricting farm productivity by preventing more efficient heavy vehicles from travelling on local roads at the beginning of journeys.

Grain Producers SA raised a number of first mile issues in the second stage of the 90-Day project, when road users were surveyed earlier in the year.

On-road running costs – such as fuel and taxes – are not reduced, but to improve efficiency from farm to the first point of sale is one of the few expenditures that grain producers can directly influence.

Gaining vital ‘first mile’ advantage does not solely rely on SA councils receiving fair and equitable road funding. Any upgrades to road freight links – and hence improvement in efficiency – may be negated by only a few kilometres of inefficient roads.

GPSA is encouraged by outcomes of the first 90-day project and is advocating that ‘first mile’ solutions be considered in any project outcomes of the second stage of the project.

In the meantime, grain producers could consider their farm property boundaries and ask, ‘are there any points closer to or adjoining the heavy vehicle freight pathway?’

Road managers, such as local councils, are required to provide consent to any changes affecting their road networks, but it may be as simple as a request to council or perhaps assistance from council to relocate access into a property.

Details: Shane Gale, GPSA policy officer, 1300 734 884.

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