Freight operators are enjoying improved amenities in Walcha with the completion of upgrades to the local truck wash facility.
The $1.2 million project was jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments, with Walcha Council also contributing.
The Australian and New South Wales governments’ joint Fixing Country Truck Washes program allocated $598,000 to the project, with an additional $252,000 funding from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. Walcha Council contributed $275,000 and local industry a further $2,000.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Australian Government is committed to building and upgrading the infrastructure that businesses need to transport goods quickly and safely.
“The $10 million Fixing Country Truck Washes program continues to deliver improved facilities for agricultural haulage across NSW, playing an important role in reducing the spread of weeds and disease across the state and the nation,” Mr Joyce said.
“This program helps to ensure cleaner livestock vehicles, which leads to better biosecurity controls throughout the region, and this upgrade accommodates B-double trucks at Walcha which previously had to travel further to use facilities at Armidale and Tamworth.
“We expect the improvements to the facility may encourage freight operators to use Walcha as an interchange point, supporting fatigue management on their journeys.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the Fixing Country Truck Washes program also benefits local economies by supporting jobs for local agriculture and transportation companies as well as their associated contractors and suppliers.
“Improvements to the Walcha Council Truck Wash Facility have sustained jobs and provided work for a number of local contractors over the four years this project has been underway,” Mr Toole said.
“We’re delighted to have helped boost the local economy while also providing a long-term improvement to this facility, with a larger concrete truck wash bay and dump point.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the existing Walcha truck wash facility was aged and couldn’t service larger vehicles whereas the upgraded truck wash will be open to all users 24/7 and includes additional lighting to improve safety for users day and night.
“This project is a great example of the Federal, state and local governments working together to deliver tangible benefits for agriculture for a regional community like Walcha,” Mr Anderson said.
“The project delivers improvements to the biosecurity controls at the site, including installation of waste treatment and disposal systems to meet current Work Health and Safety and Environmental compliance requirements, which will help livestock carriers wash down their vehicles more efficiently and safely to maintain clean stock crates.”
Walcha Council Mayor Eric Noakes said the Walcha Council Truck Wash Facility will be used by many of the 85 trucks which travel through this area each week, transporting more than 1700 tonnes of livestock combined, when the improved facilities officially open later this month.
“Sheep and cattle producers in Walcha are an important local industry servicing meat processing facilities across the New England region,” Cr Noakes said.
“Improving facilities for the local freight network will only strengthen the economy of the Northern Tablelands region with other important local industries including timber, earthmoving, and plant and machinery contractors all benefiting from this improved local truck wash.
“With the Oxley Highway now reopened to traffic after an extended closure due to the severe weather event earlier this year, producers are once again able to send their stock along this essential route linking inland NSW to the Pacific Highway.”
For more information on the Fixing Country Truck Washes program go to: www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/programs/fixing-country-roads