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Back agriculture back our Roads

18 July 2014

Back agriculture back our Roads

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s announcement to increase investment in our deteoriating rural roads, but has concerns at whether it will be enough.

“A proposed increase of 4.3 percent per annum for local road improvements, and a 2.4 percent increase for local road maintenance, is long overdue but it remains to be seen whether it is enough.” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Local Government Spokesperson.

“To date, the investment in our rural roads has not kept up with inflation and it is evident in each pot hole and/or goat track that farmers, families, school buses and contractors navigate everyday.

“We are pleased this is now being addressed but is it a sufficient recognition of the importance of roading to an economy reliant on primary production, and in turn it’s long rural roads?

“With the extreme weather conditions, more traffic that is heavier and wider, our rural roads are not coping. If investment in roading maintenance doesn't keep pace with roading costs, which are forecast to increase significantly, we're looking at a major shortfall in roading maintenance budget over the next decade.

“Whilst the increase in maintenance and improvement costs appears to be reasonable, the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) "Forecasts of Price Level Change Adjustors 2013 Update" has roading costs increasing at around 3.5 percent per annum until 2023.

“We have identified the economic value in investing in our ‘Seven Roads of National Significance’, now we need to do the same with our rural roads. Increasing our investment here will keep our input, output, and processing and export costs lower, keeping us competitive in the export markets.

“Whilst our industry grows, so should the investment in our infrastructure. Investment here is an investment in economic returns,” concluded Ms Milne

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