TRUCKS are being given temporary access to alternative road networks to deliver food and essential supplies to Northwest Australian communities cut off by floods.

The flooding is attributed to ex-tropical cyclone Ellie, which crossed into Western Australia from the Northern Territory in late December, severing freight routes.

The federal government, Western Australian and South Australian governments are working with the heavy vehicle industry to enable deliveries to parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory via South Australia.

The change comes into effect under the National Class 3 Supplementary Access (Western Australia Assistance) Exemption Notice 2023 (No.1).

According to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the exemption notice will allow Class 3 vehicles (road trains of up to 53.5 metres) to join the Road Train Type 2 network at Port Augusta South Australia to deliver essential goods to North Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The Western Australian government has also introduced permits allowing road trains of the same length to travel between Coolgardie and the SA border.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the heavy vehicle industry does “an incredible job” of helping Australians in need.

“We continue to collaborate with government, industry and the community to ensure the supply of essential goods to all Australians, and advocate for a safer, efficient heavy vehicle industry,” he said.

“While this notice is in place, I urge road users to be patient and cautious when driving near road trains.

“Road trains are much longer vehicles and road users should only overtake if there is a very long, straight stretch of road where they can see there’s nothing ahead.”

John Carey, acting Western Australia minister for transport, planning and ports, said the flooding emergency has had a significant impact to the road network.

“This exemption notice will ensure those longer road trains can continue their journey on the South Australian side of the border,” he said.

“Allowing for larger road trains means we can move freight more efficiently by road to parts of our state’s northwest and the Northern Territory.”

The temporary notice will expire on Tuesday 28 February 2023.