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Better roads for beef transport in northern Australia

The upgrade of some of Australia’s iconic cattle routes could provide significant benefits to the nation’s livestock industry, while at the same time minimising stress for both truck drivers and cattle.

CSIRO’s Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) has been applied to road upgrade proposals, submitted by stakeholders, under the Federal Government’s $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Programme with results presented at a forum in Darwin today.

CSIRO researchers joined Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan, NT Deputy Chief Minister Peter Styles, and local government and beef industry representatives at the forum.

“The aim of the computer-based logistics tool is to assist the government to identify road investment priorities, in terms of benefits for the beef industry and savings in transport costs,” CSIRO TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said.

The beef road submissions included regional roads across Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia with the successful submissions due to be announced by the government from mid 2016. The proposed upgrades ranged from new bridges to sealing and/or widening of roads to enable access for higher productivity vehicles.

“TraNSIT is crucial in helping the government to prioritise their $100 million investment to maximise industry benefit,” Dr Higgins said.

“Farmers will be saving money on transport but there will be increased road safety for all drivers using upgraded routes. Shorter trip times and better roads will also result in less impact on cattle and higher cattle prices.”

TraNSIT provides the most comprehensive mapping and optimisation of the cattle supply chain in Australia.  It accounts for 20 million cattle transport movements in a given year between over 100,000 enterprises.

Outputs from TraNSIT were presented in Darwin following workshops in Rockhampton and Kununurra last year. The workshops, hosted by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, provided information to stakeholders, such as local councils, beef producer groups and government bodies.

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