12th July 2020 Passengers and meetings.

Goodaye all. Well the border issues have made a big week more worrysome, yet in the end did not cause any of the drama it seemed would occur. However it seems, not only can they not give thought first and then put out something so people can deal with it, they must put out something with big gaps, forgetting certain people and how they live and operate on the road. Then they change it every day, just to make it bloody near impossible to know what the hell you have to do and then for good measure, let’s make it different for each state!

I do understand from where I sit, we are all under enormous pressure to fix this today, but a bit of thought and consultation will often give a better outcome. Please talk to us and our associations first. I was involved in a Zoom meeting with the NHVR and some owner drivers and all agreed the NHVR website which has compiled all the border issues and requirements in one place was well done and hopefully will help many. If in doubt, check the NHVR site and if you find a further problem, please let them know.

I raised some issues, one driver had to wait three hours to get a logbook, so getting them could be improved, particularly in Brisbane and Sydney when you are in a truck. COR still fails to get to any others than the driver who is still seemingly the only one swinging and being hit, at the end of the chain.

I had the Director, Transport Economic Reform, Land Transport Market Reform Branch, Infrastructure Investment Division, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities do a trip with me over three days. He drove to Dubbo, we left in the TIV Sunday and travelled to Toowoomba where he went to a motel late that night. I unloaded Monday morning and then we travelled down the Toowoomba bypass, him having read my extensive and detailed list of things I was not happy about (and which TMR have all but ignored) into Brisbane. There I showed him how we can get stuffed about when freight is not yet available for pick up, not sure who I can blame, we just had to wait for a few hours. We then reloaded and bounced our way out the Cunningham Highway and on to Narrabri, a motel for him and Hotel Kenworth for me, before completing the trip back to Dubbo Tuesday.

There has been much discussion about how we pay for roads, the fact that we need a better way to do so and there has been even more concern from the transport industry how we will fare. This problem is not limited to Australia, with the US having had to do last minute funding for their roads over the last few years and also looking to new ways to pay for their extensive highway network.

The industry has been arguing that how we pay now, via rego and fuel, particularly that obviously the more fuel you use, the more tax you pay, covers user pays to some extent. Others disagree. My view is that the biggest problem is that what we pay is not used only for roads, that we are not damaging the roads as is often used against us, that we provide a transport service to all Australians and that until we have better roads and the money charged to us for using them, actually goes to make us safe on those roads, then we won’t be happy to pay even higher possible charges.

It is the roads that damage the trucks, the drivers and then the roads. If they are smooth, imperfections and failures are repaired quickly and to a high standard, then we are safe in our workplace and we will pay for a good safe road. Have you ever heard the phrase, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. This is our roads and until they are built and repaired up to a standard, then we will continue to suffer damage to trucks, drivers and the roads themselves.

We do have a large country and a small population, so we cannot have perfect roads everywhere. But who ensures we get good value for our roads. Yes we are getting work done on the Newell, which has waited a long time for serious funding, yet even with the new overtaking lanes, we have not been consulted, many are on long flat stretches of road where we could overtake anyway, instead of sections where car drivers get frustrated and then do something stupid, risking our lives and theirs. In the Pilliga they are building one not far south from the biggest incline, WHY? The one just completed south of Peak Hill has been completed less that a month and has failed badly already.

We did not break it, so why should we pay for it to be fixed again and what life will it have if it doesn’t last one month? I have also contacted RMS re the section south from Boggabilla, asking will the informal rest areas be retained. I complained when they “improved” (but made worse by changing the camber, making it smaller and also making it so we cannot now get to the shade of the trees on site near Letterbox Road) but have not had a reply to either contact.

Until we can see the money we pay going into roads and we be certain we are not just giving large profits to companies to fix roads time after time, we will not be happy with the value we do not get now. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
 

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