Transport owner-operator Allan Anderson said the worker shortage is “the biggest problem” facing the rural industry.

“If it wasn’t for backpackers, Australia would be at a standstill,” said Mr Anderson.

“You go out west and they’re all backpackers.

“Our biggest problem in the rural sector and with trucks is we can’t get the people: we can’t get truck drivers, farmers have trouble getting people,” he said. Mr Anderson is busy carting grain to receival sites from the 2022 winter crop harvest as well as grain stored in bunkers and silos on-farm from 2021.

“Some of it’s wheat from the harvest before, most of it is new crop.”

Harvest activity is wrapping up in the North West, delayed due to floods at the end of last year which hindered farmers’ ability to use machinery in paddocks, wiped out some winter crops and significantly impacted the quality of others.

“It was drawn out, a lot of people got a lot of downgraded wheat but there were a few happier people who got a bit more than they thought,” said Mr Anderson.

“One farmer who we cart for, he was happy with what we got, he lost a percentage, but he was surprised with what he got considering.

“The quality is down but they’re still getting pretty good money for feed wheat, downgraded wheat.

“All the wheat we cart is all food quality wheat.”

During last year’s floods, Mr Anderson said trucks “never stopped” and were diverted to whatever receival sites were accessible at the time.

He praised Narrabri Shire Council mayor Ron Campbell for being approachable and doing the best he could in a bad situation but said federal and state government funding was welcomed and needed to fix the potholes and road “disaster”.

“You look at the roads out here

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