A new roads campaign is highlighting the urgent need to upgrade the Green Triangle region’s key freight routes in an effort to protect 18,000 local jobs and booming global export industries.
Glenelg Shire Council has released a series of video clips which highlight the broken freight network leading to the Port of Portland. The video clearly shows vehicles dodging potholes on key arterial roads including the Princes Highway, Henty Highway, Portland-Nelson Road and Portland-Casterton Road.
The campaign video, released on social media, supports an industry launch of the Green Triangle Freight Action Plan Update – an important advocacy document used to attract urgent State and Federal government funding.
For the past 18 months a cross-border team, including timber industry, transport, local government, and Victorian and South Australian State Government representatives have been compiling data for the update.
Green Triangle Freight Action Group chair, Glenelg Shire Councillor Karen Stephens said the evidence based analysis showed more than $180 million was needed to fix the freight network over the next 10 years.
The action plan research illustrates the region’s booming timber industry is generating more than $790 million in annual economic activity with a further 550 local jobs created this year. This is in addition to growing agriculture and mineral sand trade, exported to growing Asian markets from the Port of Portland.
Cr Stephens said the peak timber harvest had placed significant pressure on key arterial roads leading to the Port of Portland, jeopardising the safety of all road users.
“Our road network is broken and will not cope with increasing export trade in the coming years unless substantial investment is made to fix the road pavement,” Cr Stephens said.
“Conservative industry estimates predict there is potential for up to 700 per cent growth in this timber output in the coming years. It is critical that we have a freight network which can cope with this huge increase in wood flow.
“Without substantial investment in the near future we will be jeopardising the timber industries 18,000 jobs across the Green Triangle in addition to the estimated 10 per cent of Victoria’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) exported from the Port of Portland.”
Cr Stephens said without targeted funding from the State and Federal Governments one of Australia’s most valuable export industries would be put at risk.
“This report provides a clear and detailed illustration – without investment in our road network thousands of jobs and export opportunities will be lost,” she said.