Member snapshot – Geoff Crouch from Ron Crouch Transport
As far as Geoff Crouch is concerned, it’s imperative that Wagga focus on its transport infrastructure.
“Wagga has got the most strategic location from a distribution and a manufacturing perspective of almost any other major regional centre in Australia, but the big problem is that our location hasn’t been fully leveraged.
“We need capability within the city’s transport infrastructure to accommodate high productivity vehicles (B-triples). When it comes to industrial areas and the city’s road network, we need to plan for these vehicles because it’s not a matter of if they’re going to become legal in NSW; it’s a matter of when.
“High productivity vehicles have been trialled extensively in Melbourne for many years and they’re already approved for use between Melbourne and Albury-Wodonga. If Wagga doesn’t ensure it’s got the infrastructure to take advantage of that, we will lose business to Albury.”
He says it’s the combination of location, infrastructure and new technology – like automated vehicles – that will help secure future developments for the city.
“There’s massive, massive opportunity. If there was ever going to be somewhere a company like Amazon, when it comes to Australia, could put a major distribution centre to service the Australian market it’s Wagga.
“We have the potential for automated vehicles, the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub out at Bomen, the inland rail network, a central location and plenty of land. From here we could distribute all over the south east of Australia where most of the population base is. It’s as good as it gets.”
To achieve such an outcome requires all three levels of government working together.
“That’s not happening right now. As an example council is doing a transport study, and the state government is also doing a transport study focused on the Sturt Highway. The two jurisdictions aren’t communicating about the one topic that they have both commissioned studies on. I consider that to be bureaucratic negligence of the highest order. It’s that sort of silo mentality that has the potential to be the death of regional cities in the long run.
“That’s why we support Committee 4 Wagga, because Committee 4 Wagga is a proactive, independent organisation that not only embraces, promotes and advocates for business growth but has got a strong social conscience and believes in making a contribution back to the city. Committee 4 Wagga lobbies for change and we should all support that.”
Geoff Crouch from Ron Crouch Transport, winner of the 2016 Golden Crow award.