“I love a sunburnt country; A land of sweeping plains; Of ragged mountain ranges; Of droughts and flooding rains.”
These words of Dorothea Mackellar always come to mind when we consider the tempests hitting our country.
And the tempests have been coming thick and fast. For example, NSW was smashed by more than 220 natural disasters in 2022 alone.
The roads damage bill in NSW is at $2.5 billion and that’s on top of the existing road repair backlog of $1.9 billion worth of road repairs already needed.
The situation is replicated across much of the country and the repair cost is eyewatering. For example, one local council in Victoria is reportedly paying more than $10 million to repair just one month’s worth of road damage.
The pressure on the transport industry has been extraordinary. For example, the flooding in the Northern Territory forced trucks to detour, adding thousands of kilometres to their journey.
You may have seen the dramatic pictures of a fast-flowing river of brown water almost destroying the Fitzroy River Bridge – the vital sealed road link between Broome and the rest of Western Australia. It’s estimated the bridge repair could take a year.
At the time of writing, the floodwaters were flowing down the River Murray and across the South Australian border.
Flooding cut off entire road networks in Queensland, forcing the closure of a number of roads.
Tasmania was also hit hard by heavy rain in 2022, with floods, landslips and fallen trees across the state. The floodwaters damaged a pier on the Cam River bridge, forcing traffic to inch along one lane.
In summary, the heavy rains across much of the country have exposed the vulnerability of Australia’s intricate network of roads.
The amount of road damage is astronomical. We have joined forces with Big Rigs to highlight the potholes and drivers have sent us some extraordinary photos.
Repairing this road damage is a huge job and yet few acknowledge the great work of everyone involved.
Lots of operators have contacted the ATA over Christmas and New Year singing the praises of these road workers.
We cheerfully acknowledge their efforts.
We also acknowledge everyone working behind the scenes including the planners and managers, the public servants who get the funding and the governments who deliver.
Like trucking, too often these efforts are not seen by the general public.
But without good roads the trucking industry can’t do its job.
Sure there is always some bitching and moaning but let’s put that aside and say: Thank you.