Council plotting new road charges

Corporations asked to chip in for local roads


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Repairing roads before and after the grain harvest is stressing the budgets of local councils, but so too are increasingly heavier vehicles used by corporations to make money.

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Councils want corporations profiting from trucks using their roads to start contributing to their upkeep.

Councils want corporations profiting from trucks using their roads to start contributing to their upkeep.

Bland Shire Council general manager Ray Smith said council roads currently had three-tonne limits but when harvest time arrived those limitations were lifted, as were the restrictions on B-doubles plying local roads during school bus times.

Mr Smith believes corporate agribusinesses, such as BFB, GrainCorp and Cargill should be contributing to road upkeep as rail lines are retired and more trucks put on the roads.

He suggested a tariff determined from data at weighbridges – noting weight and the load's owner – could help calculate how much users should pay. Local farmers already paid rates to offset their use, he said. The problem facing councils was finding the money to fix the roads before and after harvest, not to mention this year's flood events.

He said just June's rains had left $2 million of road repairs, but now inspectors couldn't even see the roads to work out how much it will cost to repair them.

However the bill would be in the "tens of millions". Mr Smith said corporations should consider how much they will be asked to contribute when using council infrastructure to improve their business outcomes.

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