Queensland’s peak trucking body has hit back at a campaign to have trucks taken off the busy Kuranda Range freight crossing in the state’s north.
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said the vocal push by Barron River MP Craig Crawford, and other supporters, to impose a blanket ban is yet another ill-informed, knee-jerk reaction to the supposed dangers that trucks pose on our roads.
“As an industry we reject this type of reaction without any verified justification or analysis,” said Mahon.
“To ban trucks from the Kuranda Range would have a far-reaching impact on the region and substantially increase costs to the Tablelands’ community with trucks travelling an extra three hours over 230km one-way to deliver freight.
“This has major impacts on input costs as well as a number of other impacts for the region.“
Mahon said the proposed truck ban shows a clear lack of understanding about the crucial role road freight plays in the area.
He said the Tablelands region is a vital transport and services hub for northern Australia with major infrastructure investments made by large transport businesses in recent years to manage the increase in freight volumes.
Key impacts of limiting truck movements up the Kuranda Range include:
- Major strain on the Mareeba Region which is in the top six fastest growing local government areas in Queensland.
- Increase in costs due to using the alternative route on the Palmerston Highway.
- Increase in Council waste disposal costs for waste that is currently transported from Cairns to Springmount west of Mareeba with a capacity of approximately 90k tonnes/annum. 70-plus trucks movements per week would have to be diverted up the Palmerston Highway.
- Reduction in valuable exports via Cairns Airport from produce rich Tablelands and Lakeland Downs Region (gross value in excess of $600 million worth of produce)
- Reduction in Cairns exports as most of the generated $1,331 million (in 2019/20) comes from Tablelands Region
- Increased manufacturing, production and supply costs to business in the region.
“Yes, it is unfortunate there has been some truck crashes [on the range] but no one has given us any analysis about who was the cause, rather than jumping to the conclusion that it’s always our fault,” added Mahon.
He said the QTA strongly suggests a more consultative approach that engages the industry and community to arrive at a solution that incorporates the necessary road infrastructure investment that is so desperately needed in the region.
“In the current circumstances, clearly the road needs improvement so let’s get the right people around the table and develop a plan promptly and let’s get some work underway.”
The recent $1.6m Tablelands road access report found the Kuranda Range Road was closed 44 times a year for an average of 6.6 hours.