The newly-formed Rural Roads Alliance has given evidence to a parliamentary inquiry, reiterating its call for an emergency funding package of nearly $5.5 billion in next week's Federal Budget.
The renewed call comes as the Government commits to a review of infrastructure spending; a process the Alliance hopes will not lead to reduced road funding.
NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar has told the House of Representatives Standing Committee the current situation for rural road users is dire.
"Severely damaged roads are dramatically increasing the time and cost of moving freight to and from our rural production centres," Mr Mahar said.
"It's holding back development of our regional communities and undermining safety and welfare for all users of country roads."
The Alliance represents diverse stakeholders from across regional Australia including farmers, transporters and local councils. It was formed in response to the critical challenges facing Australia's rural road network in the wake of flooding and high rainfall.
The Alliance includes GrainGrowers, the National Farmers' Federation, Australian Local Government Association and Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association.
In the lead up to the Federal Budget, the Rural Roads Alliance is calling for an emergency funding package which will include:
GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton said the funding would be a smart investment in the future of our regions.
"This funding package is an opportunity for the Federal Government to stem the rapid deterioration of Australia's rural road network, and to reduce the cost to the budget of future climate events," Mr Turton said.
Executive Director of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, Mathew Munro, spoke of the impact on his members.
"It's harder on our vehicles, it's harder on our drivers, and it's harder on our livestock. At the end of the day it's a basic safety issue that needs to be addressed," Mr Munro said.
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