Ken Dillon has been a livestock transporter since 1988. For 16 years, he has owned and operated Clermont Livestock Transport.
Born and bred in Central Queensland and the beef industry, he concedes that roads have improved since he first started, and that strategic investment is good. But the gravel roads he still travels on each day hurt profit margins and disrupt the supply chain.
‘When you have your week planned out and it rains, you have to shift that to the following week and it snowballs into another job and turns to chaos,’ he said.
‘The people who have to clear the cattle to go to a feedlot or another property, have to let them go for three or four days and then start their dipping program again.
‘If they go to a processing plant, they have to find other cattle to process if the scheduled load doesn’t arrive, and so it has this flow-on effect for everyone.’
As an area delegate of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland, Mr Dillon regularly meets with his fellow industry leaders but feels like they’re still not being listened to.
‘In my opinion, the people who make the decisions aren’t where the action is going on but in metropolitan areas, they need to be more hands-on, get out and work out what’s going on.’
Missing links in road upgrades is something the group discusses regularly.
‘You wouldn’t believe that that the May Downs Road and Alpha-Clermont Road aren’t bitumen all the way now and type two road train access from Townsville to Roma should have been completed years ago,’ Mr Dillon said.
‘On a gravel road the biggest expense on trucks is the maintenance on the trailers, running gear, suspension, brakes and bushes, secondly fuel consumption and then wear and tear on tyres.’
Mr Dillon said he looked forward to hearing other peoples’ opinions as part of the Queensland Beef Corridors campaign.
‘It’s a really good idea and a good opportunity to address some of these longstanding issues, as long as we get a result.’
..When you have your week planned out and it rains, you have to shift that to the following week and it snowballs into another job and turns to chaos.