AGFORCE Queensland has identified transport costs and serious shortcomings in transport infrastructure, access and permitting processes as primary issues which must be addressed by an incoming government following the State Election.
Research has shown transport costs from paddock to foreign customer represent up to 30% of the total farmgate value of beef produced for export in Queensland. Similar parallels can be drawn to the grains and sheep and wool industries.
AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said transport inefficiencies were stifling rural prosperity, while congesting the agricultural supply chain.
"As one of the world's foremost producers of beef, sheep and wool and grain, the viability and prosperity of the industry is underpinned by our ability to efficiently move our commodities between properties and to market," Mr Maudsley said.
"Not only do current frameworks, access problems and the lack of infrastructure make transportation of goods prohibitively expensive, it also means there are fewer trains on the rail and more trucks on the road and this is not the best scenario for any Queenslander.
"What we need is investment in our rail and roads as a matter of priority.
"More specifically we require unfettered access for heavy vehicles and agricultural access to our key market points and between properties where it is safe and supported by an effective, responsible and efficient access system."
Some of the changes and initiatives proposed by AgForce Queensland include:
• Urgent eradication of a range of last mile issues for the beef industry, including but not limited to road train access to Rockhampton and Dinmore processing facilities;
• Investment in upgrades for key areas such as the Kennedy Developmental Road, Peninsula Development Road, upgrades to the Morven/Charleville freight corridor to allow Type 2 Road Train access and the Panorama Crossing;
• Establishment of a pre-approval system exempting agricultural wide-load movements;
• Improved, responsive and effective transport government services in regional centres. For example, permits processed within 48 hours and the resolution of agricultural and commercial customer complaints within one business week
• Improved data collection and research and development in agricultural transport.
"Transport is one of the most important components of producing food and fibre but is also an issue with flow on impacts to all road and rail users," Mr Maudsley said.
"Investment in our roads and rail system gives more jobs to Queenslanders and provides clear benefits to the production sector.
"These are tangible outcomes that governments can deliver that reduce the cost of doing business to benefit producers, road users and consumers alike.
"We urge any incoming government to move to address these problems as a matter of priority to improve business efficiency and public safety across Queensland."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.