Dairy and beef producers in Labertouche are set to increase productivity following a $1.16 million funding announcement to seal and widen a seven-kilometre section of Labertouche North Rd.
Labertouche North Rd is used by local dairy, beef, agriculture suppliers, emergency services vehicles and residents, but is an unsealed gravel road in poor condition that poses serious safety concerns.
In announcing $582,000 of state government funding for the project, a contribution which will be matched by Baw Baw Shire Council, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said there had been several accidents on the road, including a fatality.
“The agriculture industry has been going through a tough time, dealing with drought and then the milk price shock,” she said.
“We’ve created a $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Job Fund to invest in a range of projects from better weather information to water infrastructure, but there was an important need for first mile and last mile road funding, which will make a difference in both productivity and way of life for farmers.”
Ms Pulford said the first round of the program will contribute $11.5 million to 30 projects worth $22 million across 27 local government areas in regional and rural Victoria, including sealing dirt roads, widening intersections and upgrading arterial roads.
“This particular project here at Labertouche will deliver a $36,500 saving to people, and almost $5000 saving in the wear and tear on vehicles,” she said.
Labertouche North Rd farmer Trish Hammond welcomed the announcement. She said suppliers had refused to deliver to her farm due to the condition of the road.
“We’ve had suppliers, people who we buy products from, refuse to deliver to our farm as they don’t want to compromise the safety of their employees and state of their vehicles,” she said.