The NHVR has released a temporary notice to support the movement of essential food items from SA to WA during the unprecedented flooding events that have impacted large parts of central Australia.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the National Class 3 Supplementary Access (Western Australia Assistance) Exemption Notice 2022 (No.1) will provide temporary access for Class 3 vehicles that are roadtrains up to 53.5 metres in length and the equivalent of Higher Mass Limits.
“The notice will support a number of routes including from Port Augusta west, via the Eyre Highway and also the Lincoln Highway connecting to the Eyre Highway,” Petroccitto said.
“This is another crucial step to enable the supply of food and other essential goods between the eastern states and WA while the east/west route networks are impacted by flooding.”
Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has welcomed the notice.
“We are working with the Commonwealth Government, other State Governments, industry and retailers to ensure we can continue to move essential goods and supplies into Western Australia,” she said.
“We will continue to engage with all parties while the rail line is being fixed – we are all in this together.”
The notice follows the release of the National Class 2 Supplementary Access (Northern Territory Assistance) Authorisation Notice 2022 (No.1) last week to provide temporary Class 2 heavy vehicles access for roadtrains up to 53.5m long to specified routes from South Australia to Queensland via New South Wales, to join the Road Train Type 2 Network through Queensland to Darwin.
Pacific National CEO Paul Scurrah said the move to open a freight land bridge across the Nullarbor was a unique solution for a significant flooding event.
“Getting containers across the flooded regions by roads and back onto trains at Kalgoorlie shows the benefits of the whole freight and logistics sector working together,” Mr Scurrah said.
“We thank the NHVR and heavy vehicle industry for their support in helping to find a solution to keep essential freight moving.”
Australian Trucking Association President David Smith welcomed the move, which provides a land bridge allowing larger freight vehicles.
“As a South Australian, I know how important this route is for linking east and west,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s great to see all parties including the state governments and the NHVR working together to ensure we keep these vital supply lines open despite the impacts of the deluge.”
The NHVR has advised that while this notice remains in place, all other vehicles should exercise extra caution while overtaking, as these road trains are longer than the vehicles that normally operate on this route.