An oversized truck on Warrego Hwy near Chinchilla.
An oversized truck on Warrego Hwy near Chinchilla. Derek Barry

Transport industry fears delays will stunt state's growth

DELIVERY of stock vital for mining and infrastructure projects has been delayed for months on end, in a bureaucratic nightmare industry groups and businesses say is damaging Queensland's economy.

In what transport operators see as a nationwide epidemic, permits to move over-size and over-mass loads of mining, building and agricultural equipment have been slowed to a crawl.

Transport businesses attribute these delays to multiple levels of approvals the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator established in 2012.

In most cases heavy haulage operators are required to wait on three separate approvals from federal, state and local road managers before beginning work.

Queensland Transport and Logistics Council chairman Neil Findlay said there was no doubt permit delays were hurting the economy.

"It is hurting some states more than others, especially those who have a lot of big gear moving around, which hurts employment at the end of the day," Mr Findlay said.

While Transport and Main Roads has set a 28-day deadline for the processing of its applications, Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said it was simply not enough.

"I am acknowledging a lot of efforts have been made, but to say their goal is to deliver in 28 days is so far beyond reasonable expectations of a business in a contemporary world," Mr Mahon said.

For former N.Q Group director Matt Yapp, the waits were enough to walk away from the business altogether.

"Permits went from two to three days to nearly five weeks," Mr Yapp said.

"It has been like this for the past three years and is getting worse.

"We made a decision to stop N.Q Group in May last year, I just gave up in the end. We laid 80 people off."

In July 2017 Western Australian Transport company Higgs Haulage had to resort to moving time-sensitive mining equipment into far North Queensland via barges, after waiting for 100 days to receive road access permission.

Company director Neville Higgs estimated the loss of the contract would have cost the business millions.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed Transport Minister Mark Bailey had asked his Director-General to investigate options to improve time frames and expedite the issuing of permits.