A key freight supply chain in Western Australia is set to see improved safety and efficiency with the launch of the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network road upgrade program.
Work has now begun on the Mogumber-Yarawindah road in the Wheatbelt region, as part of the program.
Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network group chairman, Rick Storer, said the Mogumber-Yarawindah upgrade would widen 2.75 kms of road and extend drainage culverts, making it much safer for freight vehicle operators.
“The Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network initiative is a result of a collaborative approach in working together for a common goal. All participants, including the 42 Wheatbelt Shires, are to be congratulated on their active participation in this program that has been recognised as the biggest local government collaboration in Australia,” Mr Storer said.
“Today’s launch is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment from a number of volunteers and groups. On behalf of the Wheatbelt Shires, residents and businesses I express our thanks and appreciation.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the program would improve road reliability and better connect industry to markets.
“These upgrades will better connect businesses to domestic and international markets via Western Australia’s key ports, improving freight productivity and offering greater opportunities for business growth in the Wheatbelt region,” Mr McCormack said.
“They are part of the Federal Government’s $4.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative – a ten year investment into the nation’s key freight roads.”
WA Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, explained that the State Government has identified a schedule of priority Wheatbelt road projects.
“These upgrades will complement our work on the draft Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy,” Ms Saffioti said.
“The McGowan Government has also worked closely with regional local governments to develop the program of Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network’s investment priorities.
“The funding announced today will help ensure the Wheatbelt’s crucial transport supply chains continue to improve, helping this key agricultural area to prepare for growth in trade.”
Federal Member for Durack, Melissa Price, said the network comprised of 4,400kms of roads and the program had identified 53 strategic freight routes requiring upgrade.
“Most of the roads that large freight vehicles are permitted to use in the region are narrow, unsealed and unsuited for large volumes of heavy vehicle traffic, so the start of works on the Mogumber-Yarawindah road couldn’t be timelier,” Ms Price said.
“The projects will support local industries and the regional and remote communities located along the network, ensuring they have reliable access to essential services including healthcare and education.”
The Wheatbelt group consists of the Wheatbelt North Regional Road Group, Wheatbelt South Regional Road Group, Regional Development Australia (RDA) Wheatbelt Inc, WA Local Government Association, Main Roads WA – Wheatbelt Region and the Wheatbelt Development Commission.
The $87.5 million Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network program is jointly funded, with the Australian Government committing $70 million through its Roads of Strategic Importance initiative, the Western Australian Government committing $11.67 million and local government bodies providing the remainder.
The Australian Government has committed $0.8 million towards the $1 million Mogumber-Yarawindah road upgrade, with the remainder provided by the Western Australian Government and local government bodies.