An investment of $17.4 million will go towards rest areas along some of Tasmania’s key freight routes.
Heavy vehicle rest areas on the Midland Highway (Kings Meadows), Bass Highway (Forest Farm), Murchison Highway (Fossey River) will share in $5.4 million; while a further $12m has been allocated new facilities (eastbound and westbound) on the Bass Highway at Westbury.
“Without our transport operators, our region’s economic prosperity would come to a standstill. We need to invest in the infrastructure drivers need to ensure that are able to undertake their day-to-day jobs professionally and in accordance with safety regulations,” said Federal Member for Braddon, Gavin Pearce.
The funding has been warmly welcomed by the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA).
“Transport and Logistics is vital to the Tasmanian economy and to the way of life of all Tasmanians. Regular and accessible facilities, along key freight routes, are essential to driver safety. These facilities provide opportunities for drivers to pull over safely, to check the vehicle and load, and to take breaks as needed, and reflect the recommendations of industry” said TTA chairman John de Bruyn.
The TTA has worked closely with industry members and the Department of State Growth to evaluate the need for improved safety facilities for heavy vehicle drivers, as part of the Heavy Vehicle Driver Rest Area Project.
The latest funding announcement follows the launch of the Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Driver Rest Area Strategy in November 2020 and builds on the initial $5m announced for facilities at that time.
One of the first facilities to be upgraded, including the provision of toilet facilities, is the Howth weighbridge site, with work now underway with that project.
“This latest announcement of funding demonstrates that both the Tasmanian and Federal Governments recognise the importance of the heavy vehicle industry, its contribution to the Tasmanian economy, the critical role of professional drivers, and their specific needs for safety and wellbeing,” de Bruyn added.