VFF slams Victoria’s roads as ‘the worst in the country’

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) believes that a greater focus on road maintenance and improving freight efficiency would help propel the state’s economy.

In a submission to the Refresh of the Victorian Freight Strategy, VFF says that if the Victorian government commits to maintaining and fixing regional roads, it would help reinforce agriculture as Victoria’s largest exporter by value – and help the state surpass $20 billion dollars of food and fibre exports by 2030.

“Victoria has the worst roads in the country. The freight strategy must set a vision for us to have the best roads in Australia,” said VFF president Emma Germano.

“The total neglect of regional roads has happened in part because the previous freight strategy never identified maintenance as a priority. That is despite it having been a key ask of all freight and transport industry stakeholders.

“To continue to supply good quality, well-priced products for consumers here and abroad it’s absolutely vital we have a concrete vision that improves the efficient movement of food and fibre.”

Germano added that a combination of infrastructure investment, maintenance and regulatory reform would be needed to realise the full potential of a new strategy.

“Victoria’s new freight strategy must include a dedicated piece focusing on agricultural freight. Transporting produce through our supply chains represents one of the most significant costs to Victorian farmers. Not only do we feel that squeeze on farm, it drives investment away from our state and our industry.

“Rising costs across the supply chain are making Victorian food and fibre less competitive.”

Terminal access charges for one of the stevedores at the Port of Melbourne have increased by 52.52 per cent in Melbourne, compared with 38.8 per cent in Sydney and 37.5 per cent in Brisbane this year.

“The cost of not planning for the future would be enormous,” said Germano.

“The demand for food and fibre is growing exponentially both domestically and overseas and now is the time to set the foundations for a modern and efficient freight system that delivers for the decades ahead.”

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