08/01/2020 - 15:47

Truckies face 'crippling' losses as bushfires worsen

08/01/2020 - 15:47

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The Western Roads Federation has called for truckies to be included in the federal goverment's business assistance package, as it emerged today the two-week closure of the Eyre Highway would continue after bushfires were upgraded to emergency level.

Truckies face 'crippling' losses as bushfires worsen
Western Roads Federation says transport operators should be included in the federal government's business assistance package.

The Western Roads Federation has called for truckies to be included in the federal goverment's business assistance package, as it emerged today the two-week closure of the Eyre Highway would continue after bushfires were upgraded to emergency level.

WRF has urged Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud to consider transport companies among these businesses, noting the bushfires have forced an unprecedented ongoing two-week closure of the Eyre highway connecting Perth and Adelaide.

WRF said this has imposed costs on many transport operators stuck at the roadblocks, which could leave operators with “crippling financial losses”.

Chairman Craig Smith-Gander said transport companies providing Australia’s east-west road transport connection must be included in any business assistance package.

“I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our state’s and our nation’s truck drivers and transport companies who have continued to support their communities and their customers throughout the crisis,” he said.

WRF said Western Australia remained closed at the border to all traffic.

The fast-moving bushfire near Eyre Highway was upgraded to emergency level this afternoon after the blaze breached containment lines in several places and began impacting the highway on both sides.

It means the road will not reopen on Thursday as previously hoped.

"Once the fire has been contained, the situation for opening the Eyre Highway will be reassessed," the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.

"Travellers from South Australia are strongly recommended to postpone your departure from your current location as there are very few facilities at the border and conditions are very hot.

"The Great Central Road is open through to the Northern Territory border.

"The road is closed from the border into the NT."

The emergency warning is in place for Balladonia Roadhouse and homestead and south to Israelite Bay.

"You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive,” the department warned.

“There is a threat to lives and homes.”

The Coolgardie-Esperance Highway is open but restricted access permits are required.

St John Ambulance has set up a first aid post at Prinsep Street in Norseman, while a temporary evacuation centre at Esperance Civic Centre has closed.

The blaze started on December 20.

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