The Australian Government says a number of new and upgraded heavy vehicle rest areas are another step closer, with state, territory and local governments now able to apply for funding under its Heavy Vehicle Rest Area initiative.
Through the initiative, the Australian Government says it has committed $140 million over 10 years for the construction of new and upgraded heavy vehicle rest areas. A steering committee is ensuring drivers and the road transport industry have a voice in shaping projects to be funded under the HVRA.
The steering committee is chaired by Senator Glenn Sterle, and includes five long-haul truck drivers and four industry representatives.
Senator Glenn Sterle said that progressing the $140 million funding commitment for rest areas is welcome news for the heavy vehicle drivers who are so vital for keeping our country running – filling in gaps in the network.
“Our truckies’ commitment and dedication to keeping communities connected and supplied has shone throughout the pandemic and then a series of natural disasters like the floods in Fitzroy Crossing, when they took on the challenge of driving an extra 4,500 kilometres to get supplies to flood affected communities,” Senator Searle said.
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said Heavy vehicle drivers in Australia deserve access to the facilities they need when they need them, just like every other worker.
“I thank the Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Steering Committee for its hard work in guiding the process so far, and in giving truckies a voice in shaping the projects which are funded through the initiative,” Minister King added.
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown said she looks forward to continuing to work with the steering committee and across levels of government to deliver new and improved heavy vehicle rest areas across the country.
“I am proud to be part of a government that is delivering for the transport industry and our essential truckies,” said Brown
Working closely with the steering committee, the Government says it has now incorporated a dedicated criterion for heavy vehicle rest area funding into updated guidelines for the existing Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP) and Bridges Renewal Program (BRP).
Additional minor administrative improvements have been made to the Guidelines. For example, other Australian Government funding can now be used as a co‑contribution, and projects with a changed scope, timeframe or cost will no longer have to be re‑submitted as a new project. Details of all changes can be found at https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/about/local-initiatives.
New project proposals from state, territory and local governments will be assessed in accordance with the updated guidelines, ensuring high-quality projects are funded.
A survey has also been developed for truck drivers and interested road users to provide input on the location and condition of existing rest areas and to provide advice on where additional rest areas may be required. To access the survey, visit Heavy Vehicles Rest Areas (arcgis.com).
The HVSPP is an ongoing Australian Government initiative, with up to $65 million per year provided to fund infrastructure projects that improve the productivity and safety outcomes of heavy vehicle operations across Australia.
The BRP provides up to $85 million per year to fund the upgrade and replacement of bridges to enhance access for local communities and facilitate higher productivity vehicle access.
Applications may be submitted year-round which provides flexibility and allows projects to be submitted when they will most benefit Australia’s heavy vehicle infrastructure.