Saleyard operators and livestock transporters are being urged to seek funding after the federal government agreed to commit $10 million to safety upgrades at saleyards for the first time, following negotiations with Tony Windsor, the Independent member for New England.
The government had already allocated $40 million to round three of the heavy vehicle safety and productivity program, which is dedicated to upgrading the safety of Australia’s road network for trucking industry workers.
The agreement to boost the grants program by an extra $10 million and extend it to saleyard infrastructure was reached after the concerns of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) were represented to Tony Windsor by the association’s national president John Beer and former president David Smith.
“Older ramps and gates at saleyards put workers and truck drivers at serious risk of death and injury,” Windsor said. “Three people have died in Australian saleyards since May 2010, and obviously the number of accidents is much higher.
“It is crucial that ageing and unsafe infrastructure at saleyards is upgraded to prevent serious injury and death,” he added. “New ramps, gates and other infrastructure provided by this federal funding will protect rural workers, truck drivers and their families.”
Submissions for funding under round three of the heavy vehicle safety and productivity program should be made to both the relevant state government and the Commonwealth by October 31 this year.
Formal applications for funding will be made by state governments, but the Commonwealth will make the final funding decision with regard to the submissions received directly from applicants.
“I’d like to encourage industry stakeholders and saleyard operators, including local councils, to work with the ALRTA to make a submission for this new funding,” Tony urged. “I’d also like to acknowledge the federal government for agreeing to boost the grants program from $40 million to $50 million to include safety upgrades at saleyards.”