RECENTLY, Transport for NSW released the findings of an independent review of the NSW Livestock Scheme.
The Livestock Loading Scheme (NLS) is something the LBCA fought hard for and has the potential to benefit rural producers throughout NSW.
However, since it commenced in 2013 the support for the NLS has been very disappointing.
The industry has stood firmly behind the scheme with more than 800 drivers participating in the training program but we are yet to get good traction in regard to access to local farms.
This is not a scheme just for transporters.
It supports councils, farmers, transporters and ultimately the entire agricultural supply chain.
We want the safest trucks on the road, like the ones enrolled in the scheme. And of course, a reduction in the overall number of trucks on roads is good for everyone.
The review found the scheme could save producers up to $10.2million a year in livestock transport costs and reduce more than 7000 annual truck trips on regional roads and highways if it was taken up by a greater number of shire councils. That's a huge productivity and safety gain for NSW.
To be effective, the scheme requires the support of local councils who control access to the farm gate. Industry has shown its support by signing up and putting drivers through training.
The key issue is engaging with local councils. We were very happy to hear Minister Duncan Gay say recently that he will encourage NSW councils to sign up to the scheme.
As transport operators, we have clearly demonstrated our commitment to the scheme.
As an industry, we have put more than 800 professional livestock transport drivers through the training program.
But it's of little use if there is nowhere we can go.
I think there tends to be a bit of a misunderstanding among councils about the scheme.
We've got safer trucks and highly trained drivers thanks to the scheme.
There are some important and substantial funding programs currently available to support councils to upgrade roads and infrastructure to support the vital rural freight task.
We want to help everyone understand the value the scheme can bring to local communities that are built around agriculture.
Every dollar we save in transport goes back to our farmers. And we all know they need it.
Meet Jock Carter
Jock Carter is the current president of the NSW based Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association.
Commencing in the role of LBCA president in 2014, Jock brings a rich history in the livestock and rural transport industry. Jock grew up on a sheep property near Goulburn with a family livestock transport business which is still in operation today, under Jock's direction.
Jock also has 20 years' experience as a supply chain specialist, with a broad range of experience in the agribusiness sector including roles with Hunter Grain, Allied Mills, Cargill Grain and Oilseeds, AWB and Finemores Transport.
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