Transport industry bodies have lauded a State Government decision to fund major upgrades at a number of heavy vehicle rest areas around WA. Some 17 locations have been identified as priority sites for improvements, with $14 million worth of works to start in June, subject to Commonwealth Government approval. Under the plan ablution facilities will be installed at 10 locations across key freight routes, near Port Hedland, Exmouth, Marble Bar, Wubin, Northam and Bunbury at a cost of more than $2 million. A $6m expansion of the Newman road train assembly area and new ablution facilities will also be undertaken. A number of sealing projects on existing gravel roads will be included in the project, including parking near Auski roadhouse ($3.2 million), parking at Leonora with toilet facilities ($1.5 million) and a parking area near Karijini to separate heavy and light vehicles ($950,000). Western Roads Federation chairman Craig Smith-Gander said the announcement was timely. “It is proof that when the industry works together we can achieve results,” he said. “We don’t always have to agree with each other but where we have common concerns we are more effective when we are all together.” WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle said the funding was a huge win for the transport industry. “I saw for myself last year how run down some of the facilities were at rest and assembly areas in regional WA and they are not to the standard that our essential truckies deserve in 2021,” he said. The working group will continue identifying projects on key regional routes that would benefit from the program, which is jointly funded by the Federal and State governments.