Truck wash delay worry

OWNERS of a site proposed for adouble-bay truck wash in the state’s North West are calling for an update on proceedings ahead of potential biosecurity risks and impending winter weather.

In 2019 $4 million in Federal funding was announced for four new washdown facilities at Smithton, Burnie, Devonport and on King Island. Calls have been made to the Cradle Coast Authority, who are currently overseeing the project, to provide updates on proceedings.

The CCA says a site at Minna Road in Heybridge had been selected for the truck wash and preparations of the tender were being commenced with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2022. The site at Minna Road had been purchased by a group of investors from within the agricultural industry with the understanding their land would be used for the proposed truck wash.

“We were told in early March that tenders were going to be called for a double-bay truck wash and that hasn’t happened yet,” said Wayne Wells, one of the investors. “Our main concern is that we as a committee can’t proceed much further until we get a settlement on the truck wash.”

“We want to know why it’s taken so long.” Mr Wells said there was a threat of foot and mouth disease to Tasmanian livestock, which was currently spreading rapidly through Indonesia. “If that gets into Australia it’ll decimate our livestock industry and we need quarantine sites and washdown bays to protect from that.

“There is a biosecurity risk that the Federal Government should be responsible for.” Central Coast councillor and former chair of the Cradle Coast Authority Cheryl Fuller said the truck wash was “a no-brainer” for animal welfare and biosecurity. “It’s a bit time critical and every month that goes past has bio-security and animal welfare impacts.” Cradle Coast Authority CEO Sheree Vertigan said the progression was complicated.

“It is a highly complex project which is effectively four projects within one, with each site requiring a different response and at different stages in the process,” Ms Vertigan said. Ms Vertigan said additional complexities included the need for additional funding to be compliant with Tas Water risk management policy.

The CCA said a development application for the Minna Road site would be submitted to the Burnie City Council before the end of the financial year, while the contract for access to the proposed site and transfer of ownership to future owners was in development.