NSW Farmers' Association includes rural roads in budget submission

Safe, effective: the NSW Farmers' Association is looking to support the agricultural sector in the way it interacts with roads.
Safe, effective: the NSW Farmers' Association is looking to support the agricultural sector in the way it interacts with roads.

Crash barriers and other safety works have received the support of the state’s peak body for agriculture.

The NSW Farmers’ Association has welcomed the NSW government’s Road Safety Plan, which contains a suite of measures aimed at reducing the road toll.

Almost 70 per cent of the 392 deaths in 2017 in the state were on country roads.

The NSW Farmers’ Association has been working to put rural roads on the agenda.

“The first thing I’d say is road safety and driving safely to the road conditions is the most important thing for the NSW Farmers Association because any deaths or any accidents on the road is one too many,” said Kathy Rankin, a policy director with the organisation.

In the lead-up to this year’s state budget, NSW Farmers has specific industry issues to bring forward.

In its submission, it is calling for more than $10 million for rural road safety and better road management in addition to continuing the “highly successful” Fixing Country Roads and Fixing Country Rail programs.

To have good clear signage just to warn other road users that there are agricultural vehicles around and that those agricultural vehicles may be large and slow moving.

NSW Farmers’ policy director for rural affairs and business, economics and trade Kathy Rankin

Ms Rankin said often drivers were not used to seeing agricultural vehicles on roads and may not necessarily be aware they may be quite wide and travelling slowly.

“So one of our key issues was to get increased signage out in regional areas where we know there are large traffic movements of agricultural vehicles,” she said.

“To have good clear signage just to warn other road users that there are agricultural vehicles around and that those agricultural vehicles may be large and slow moving.”

The peak body also wants greater consistency across different regions.

Ms Rankin said the association recognised local governments were doing a lot of work in terms of managing the road access in each of their areas.

NSW Farmers was keen to see how the state government might be able to work “more effectively with local government road managers” to “prioritise road improvements, particularly around road widening, and widening and strengthening of bridges so that there aren’t road barriers to agricultural vehicle movements”, she said.