In an effort to reduce wear and tear on country roads, as well as make transportation more efficient, the state government developed the NSW Livestock Loading Scheme (NSWLLS) in 2012. The Scheme also includes driver education and practical training for professional drivers, to help ensure the safety of all road users.
However, while not everyone is yet on board with the scheme, an independent review has found that the benefits to country roads as well as regional residents and workers could be great.
Addressing the load on NSW’s roads
Transport plays a large role in agriculture in NSW – the state is responsible for almost 25 per cent of the national $46.69 billion livestock production industry. There were over 17,000 businesses in NSW that participated in the livestock industry according to Transport for NSW.
As part of the NSWLLS, certified vehicles with road friendly suspension are allowed to operate at a Higher Mass Limit (HML), meaning bigger loads and subsequently fewer trips on approved routes.
The Scheme is yet another step towards helping reduce the impact of commuter and freight vehicles on rural roads, in addition to the implementation of the $43 million Fixing Country Roads initiative announced in February this year.
With the release of the details of an independent appraisal of the NSWLLS, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay took to the stage at the AgQuip in Gunnedah to urge more regional councils to take up the scheme.
“The Scheme has the potential to deliver considerable productivity gains for the entire livestock production sector as well as improving safety, animal welfare and the overall condition of regional roads and highways,” said Mr Gay in a recent media release.
According to Transport for NSW, it was found that some $10.2 million could be saved in the transportation of livestock, as well as significantly reducing the number of trips each year with a wider participation in the NSWLLS.
Making the livestock industry safer and more efficient
“The Livestock Loading Scheme has enabled the use of safer and more productive freight trucks, helping to reduce ‘wear and tear’ on local and regional roads,” Mr Gay said.
“Feedback from industry and local councils through the independent review has confirmed the positive impact of the Scheme for businesses and regional communities.”
In addition to financial savings, Mr Gay also reported that the NSWLLS’ practical driver training courses have helped over 800 livestock carrier drivers to better hone their skills and keep roads safe since March 2013.
Under the Scheme, drivers are educated on the best way to load their livestock to reduce the risk of a devastating roll-over.
“Sensible truck weights result in increased levels of freight productivity and fewer truck movements, which in turn means ‘less wear and tear’ on our roads and highways. To date, 21 regional councils have enrolled in the Scheme,” Mr Gay said.
“The evidence is in for the benefits of broader take-up and it will be our task now to ensure councils are aware of the Scheme’s value to regional businesses and economies.”
Less accidents by virtue of fewer and safer truck movements, plus less road damage, results in lower comprehensive and CTP insurance premiums.