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Transport companies and pastoralists are refusing to use major outback roads that have fallen into disrepair, and it's costing them time and money.
In some instances pastoralists are having to send their cattle hundreds of extra kilometres to bypass major outback roads, adding thousands of dollars to their freight bills.
Jay Gook is the manager of Huckitta Station, which straddles the Plenty Highway, about 280 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs.
He recently sent cattle to Winton in Queensland – also on the Plenty – but couldn't justify driving cattle trucks along the road because of the corrugations, potholes and bulldust.
The trucks ended up taking a 900km detour along the Barkly Highway, at an additional cost of about $8,500 per truck.
"We're 200 kilometres up the Plenty and so we had to go back that 200 kilometres, and then right around," Mr Gook said.
"They were good feeder steers so we wanted to look after them."
Mr Gook said the road was in the worst condition he and many others in the region had seen it, with the bulldust in some spots so bad that trucks were getting bogged.
"Being called a highway, you wouldn't think you'd get bogged on it," he said.
Mr Gook said the poor condition of the Plenty was limiting the markets for their cattle.
"It's hard to justify sending some of our cattle into Queensland, even though we're only 300 kilometres from the border," he said.
"We've decided to sell our cattle into South Australia because [transport is] cheaper."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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