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WA election: RAV 4 access critical to ag productivity

WAFarmers is seeking a commitment from the political parties in the lead up to the State Election to improve and facilitate greater access for Restricted Access Vehicles (RAV) 4, as part of their State Election Policy Platform.

WAFarmers President Tony York said freight was essential to all agricultural inputs, throughputs and outputs, but that these were under threat from the lack of accessibility on current road networks.

“Road transport is critical to any farming business, but red tape severely inhibits efficiency and productivity throughout the supply chain, and increases costs,” Mr York said.

“The current RAV network does not always allow for the most direct and cost efficient route to be taken, therefore resulting in extra costs to farmers.

“With RAV 4 heavy vehicles measuring up to 27.5 metres in length and carrying up to 84 tonne of mass over five axles, many farmers’ trucks fall within the scope of the RAV 4 network but are not legally allowed on some roads.

“Given this is a common truck combination used by contract drivers over peak agricultural periods, it is essential to farmers’ productivity that RAV access is vast and reliable, and that they do not feel the need to take unnecessary or illegal risks just so they can meet their deadlines.

“Further, the current rate for a contract driver to operate a pocket road train is $134.95 per hour, or $2.04 per kilometre, and when farms and rural businesses are spread across a state as vast as WA, it is easy to add up the kilometres and see how much of an impact logistics has on a rural business’ bottom line.”

Mr York said WAFarmers acknowledged the efforts of Main Roads WA in facilitating greater access across the network for RAV 4 vehicles.

“Over the course of 2016, Main Roads worked closely with WALGA and individual Local Government Authorities and close to 900 routes to the RAV 4 network,” he said.

“These additional roads took form by way of new routes or RAV 2 and 3 roads being permitted to carry larger combinations.

“As Main Roads are steadily adding to RAV 4 access, this should be seen as the new benchmark, and all roads should allow access for this combination of vehicle when safe to do so.

“By minimising red tape surrounding road transport and logistics, farming enterprises will experience reduced costs, and this will also spur improved efficiency and productivity throughout the supply chain.

“This policy setting will allow farmers to improve on-farm production, reduce costs incurred beyond the farm gate and allow a much more streamlined transport system for WA produce.”

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