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Transporters want road train permits extended

Rebecca TurnerCountryman
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A push to extend triple road train permits past Regans Ford to the Muchea Livestock Centre could provide significant animal welfare benefits for cattle as well as reduce freight costs for pastoralists.

While a spokesman for Transport Minister Troy Buswell said operation of triple road trains on this section of Brand Highway was not appropriate at this stage, industry has been pushing for Main Roads to allow a trial.

WA Livestock and Rural Transporters Association president Grant Robins does not agree.

Mr Robins said before the Muchea Livestock Centre was completed Apple Street in Middle Swan was the only other place on the journey south where triple road trains could stop to break down into smaller units, which would have created a safety factor for other motorists.

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He said the Muchea Livestock Centre now provided a viable and nearby alternative to Regans Ford and that since the completion of the Indian Ocean Drive the amount of traffic on the Brand Highway was reduced.

Mr Robins said extending triple road train permits to Muchea had the potential to save a minimum of three hours transport per consignment and provide huge animal welfare benefits.

Currently once triple road trains reach Regans Ford they have to stop and take off one trailer.

The cattle in the third trailer then have to wait for a second truck to collect them or for the original truck to return from offloading its other trailers.

WA Meat Industry Association chief executive Renata Paliskis said she would be working with industry to put a proposal forward to Main Roads to trial the extension.

"From what I have heard using the Muchea Livestock Centre would be much safer for cattle and drivers than using the current end point of Regans Ford," Ms Paliskis said.

Leeds Cattle Transport owner John Leeds agreed a trial was needed to prove that extending permits to Muchea would not cause any problems for other motorists.

"It would mean the job of relocating cattle to saleyards would be over much quicker," Mr Leeds said.

"As well as the animal welfare benefits, costs to pastoralists would also be reduced."

Mr Leeds said high transport costs were becoming a big problem for the pastoral industry.

"I think we need to move forward on this, we have proven these units are not dangerous, it is time Transport Minister Troy Buswell looks at this and meets with northern operators and the pastoral industry," he said.

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