Lack of bays doesn’t wash for WA owner-operators

Zach RelphCountryman
Livestock and Rural Transport Association of WA president David Fyfe.
Camera IconLivestock and Rural Transport Association of WA president David Fyfe. Credit: Nic Ellis

Owner-operators say WA’s livestock truck wash-bay network needs more sites to reduce travel time and safeguard against the spread of biosecurity threats.

Following a Livestock and Rural Transport Association of WA meeting on Saturday, members determined up to five new truck wash bays are needed Statewide.

It is hoped establishing new wash bays at sites including Broome and Bunbury will remove the need for round trips of up to 400km to reach a wash facility.

There are eight livestock truck wash bays in WA at Kununurra, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Esperance, Muchea, Kojonup, Katanning and Mt Barker.

However, LRTA president David Fyfe — owner of Fyfe Transport at Lake Grace — said more were needed given the State’s size.

“Driving up to two hours each-way to a wash bay after a long day is tough, so more are definitely needed to manage driver fatigue,” he said.

Also with better access to wash bays, drivers will be able to wash out more frequently and reduce the possible spread of weeds or pests.

LRTA members were set to meet with State Government officials yesterday regarding new wash bays and potential funding opportunities.

In WA’s north, the closest truck washes to the Port of Port Hedland are in Kununurra and Geraldton — 1584km and 1336km away respectively.

Although only two cattle consignments have departed the Pilbara Ports Authority-operated maritime facility this year, Mr Fyfe flagged a wash bay in closer proximity to Port Hedland was needed if livestock exports ramped up.

A feasibility assessment into a new Pilbara truck wash, released in 2017, found a biosecurity wash-down would prevent the spread of “pest plants by vehicles travelling between Port Hedland and cattle stations”.

It also identified the best location for a truck wash bay to service the live export industry would be within 10km to 50km from the Port of Port Hedland.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails