Farmers have clinched a major hay relief concession from the NSW Government which will allow B-triple trucks on the Oxley Highway for the next six months.
The details were finally clinched with the Roads and Maritime Service today, that will allow a limited number of B-Triple hay deliveries from Gunnedah to Tamworth.
The trucks will have escorts while exiting Gunnedah via Bloomfield St and include limiting the B-Triple to one unladen westbound trip and one laden eastbound trip with drought relief hay each week.
At the moment trucks are often taking two trailers on the Oxley to Tamworth and then returning to pick up the third one. Hay is being brought as far away as from Victoria and South Australia because of short supplies in the extended dry in NSW.
Although the concession does not include livestock trucks, it is a major win for farmers struggling with the big dry, some say is the worst dry since 1982.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chafey said his council and the NSW Government had approved a short-term access permit for B-Triples delivering fodder to drought-affected communities on the Oxley Highway from Gunnedah to Tamworth for up to six months.
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey said any relief for farmers affected by this drought would be welcomed across the communities in the North West.
“The short term permit to transport hay to drought stricken areas around Tamworth by modular B-Triples will just give that bit of relief during this difficult time,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Our work with Gunnedah Shire Council and Tamworth Regional Council means the access to the permits will come into effect today.
“We know what farmers really need is rain but this assistance will make it easier to continue to feed their stock until that rain comes.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said while B-triple access is currently limited to transporting hay, affected farmers will welcome the arrangements in the trying conditions of the extended drought.
“It is heart-breaking seeing the effects of the drought on the farmers in my community,” Mr Anderson said.
“I was compelled to do everything I could to assist them. This outcome provides a mutually beneficial arrangement which allows the State Government, Gunnedah Shire and Tamworth Regional Councils to assist drought affected farmers.”
Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Council Jamie Chaffey said access for these vehicles are under strict traffic management arrangements through Gunnedah to ensure the safety of all road users.
Mayor of Tamworth Regional Council Col Murray said conditions include limiting the B-Triple to one unladen westbound trip and one laden eastbound trip with drought relief hay each week.