30th May 2021

Goodaye all. I was made aware through email, having done my Graduate Certificate in Road Safety through them, of a CARRSQ webinar on Rural and Regional Road Safety (mainly Queensland) and so made contact and was offered a chance to speak as part of the webinar, either in Brisbane or via zoom. I was given 8 minutes and did a 5 page powerpoint presentation, finding out the day before, I was actually being touted as talking about mental health, so had to add another quick page. I took part and was the only fulltime road user involved. There were many including Police, researchers and academics and I thank them for their contributions as well and CARRSQ for the chance to raise our issues, but it simply shows how hard it is to not only be even aware such opportunities exist, let alone to be able to participate.

One comment thanked them for including me as a road user and another came direct to me, again thanking me for taking the time and effort and that the issues I raised were welcome and valid. How can we ever be heard and have our issues addressed as well as contribute to any road safety discussion, when we are generally left out. No one from the trucking industry was to my knowledge invited to either of these and from where I sit, had I not been at home with time to spare, no one as a truckie on the road, let alone any industry association, would have been involved. My bit may help, but we must have genuine inclusion and participation all the time, not just by accident. We are the biggest individual users of the network, we are affected most by failures and lack of facilities and yet we are mostly ignored. This must change and I will do all I can and annoy as many people as possible and as needs to be done, to see this change.

Then there was another webinar by Austroads about getting rid of older trucks. Now this one I had less than 3 hours notice when I found out about it. I was able to ask one question which was not discussed in the webinar and there were two findings that go against what we have been generally led to believe, one is that it is rigids in urban work that pose the biggest health costs and risks and two, that the oldest trucks are not the ones with the biggest crash stats, it is the next group. There may well be more to investigate and further details to be released and of course, the findings may get more clout than they deserve, if those with a specific axe to grind or cart to push, use them as they might.

I then attended the monthly meeting of the Dubbo Bypass and Newell Highway Alliance and we will be launching an epetition in August seeking a better outcome for Dubbo instead of being railroaded into accepting a half arse solution to both the traffic and flooding issues that affect the Newell and Dubbo and will only continue to worsen. Many other towns have been given bypasses and or ring roads, but Dubbo, as the crossroads of NSW, is being told, take what you are given. A bad solution that will not do anything to solve the problems, it may improve them slightly, but for the future, we need a solution that will see Dubbo grow and through traffic able to get through without traffic and flooding affecting them more and more. It may then even see Dubbo with decent truck facilities, something we lack and yet there are two in Gilgandra and one in Tomingley.

The money being planned to be spent on the River Street Bridge would be most of what would be needed to provide the first section of a ring road and then it could be done in stages as needed. If River St goes ahead, Dubbo will not get a ring road for the next 40 to 50 years, so what do you think the traffic in and through town will be like then? It will be a case of “We should have built a ring road” too bloody late.

So off to the surgeon tonight, keen to see him at 7PM on a Sunday, my first meeting with him since the surgery. He is a friendly bloke and must work as hard as most truckies, but I think he might earn a bit more. My pool efforts earlier in the week, being in nice warm water I didn’t go silly, but spent 40 minutes with what I thought was gentle exercise, but I might have just gone a bit hard. Later that night it hurt and the next day at physio, I had actually gone backward with movement, so whilst I have listened and tried to be patient, I do understand better that they may well know what is best. But we will see what the doctor says. Nearly caught up, a few more issues and emails re the new truck to sort, finish chasing up new members benefits for NRFA members from the truckshow and physio Tuesday. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


23rd May 2021 Back to Convalescing

Goodaye all. Well the truckshow has been and gone and from where I sit, it was not only a success for the organisers and the industry, it was for the NRFA as well. Thanks to all our members who gave their time and effort, to members who stopped in and to those who joined up at the show or who will now!!!

It has been back to physio, visit work to say hello and arrange some things for the future, be given more exercises to do and with them, for the first time, I can actually touch the back of my left shoulder with my right arm. Movement in front is good and lifting my arm on its own is now improving. A week ago at physio, I could not even lift my right arm a foot from my side, let alone without pain. So getting better.

In discussions with one of our members about audio books, we spoke of different series and he suggested the “Assassins Apprentice” and I managed to find a second hand copy in Dubbo for $6 so that is my current reading, having finished book 9 in the Castle series. It remains one of my favourite TV shows and I have now read the first 9 of 10 books. Funny when art imitates life, the series about an author who writes the books, then they wrote the books and there were 10 books and only 8 series.

Working on some new member benefits for NRFA, other follow ups from the show and taking part in a Rural Road Safety Forum online Wednesday, being held in Brisbane through CARRSQ and putting a truckies view forward. Did get a reply from my 3 inquiries to TMR at the show, the Gatton Pads are having work done, a delay with light towers I believe and will be made available again when the work is done. They are fitting weighbridges and I asked will they be left on as with at the port etc and that was taken on notice. I have since sent my list of concerns re the Toowoomba bypass (again and again) but am hopeful of some movement, or I will have to gain some more support from you out there, to put more pressure on them to act instead of doing nothing and saying, “It is all about road safety”.

The issue of toilets at the roadtrain hook up bay was answered with yes, it should be considered. It should have been considered and built when the bypass was being done. It is not like they opened the bypass and then said “Gee, maybe we could let roadtrains come this far, but what will happen to them then?” Obviously someone missed that part and with one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing, we get to this point now. Not good enough.

Any of you who agree there should be toilets, ring 131940, ring TMR, ring the local member and anyone else you want to include. They have failed us till now, we want to have more say, more inclusion and should not have to fight after the event. Who was consulted about the roadtrain bay? Did they fail us or was the consultation, ask one bloke and whatever he says ignore it, but then we can say we consulted.

We are not asking to be given control, but we must be given both the chance to comment, suggest and solve problems before they are stuffed up. Had the toilets been included in the works, they would have been much cheaper. How much will they cost to do now and if so when? All these people have toilets on every floor of their buildings, we just want some and why were they not included here? If you have the answer, let me know. If you are not happy, let them know, but at least relatively nicely, no abuse, that won’t help. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


16th May 2021 Truckshow Day 4

Goodaye all, well the 2021 Brisbane Truckshow is done and dusted. I believe it has gone well for the organisers, congratulations on a very well turned out and managed event. There may well be some things I missed but wanted to see and some people who escaped, but many business cards, some other inquiries and discussions requiring follow up, will keep me busy for the next week at least. Thank you to everyone from the HVIA who helped facilitate a site for us nearly at the last minute, it must have been hard doing the juggling.

Thank you to every member of the NRFA who helped and or attended or took part on the stand, to our partners on the stand, Mark Brown from TBI Insurance (and for your rousing success in setting up the venue and Saturday evening get together, plus your time on the stand) to Highway Advocates, we wish you not only success in setting up the new venture, but know many other drivers will benefit from industry knowledge and representation, should they find themselves with an unfair or unreasonable ticket or infringement penalty.

I do believe we gained good exposure, new members, even some respect from many outside our ranks, at least from discussions I have had with many during the show. It has cost us some money, the returns for which, I hope may well flow over some time to come, but we do have extra flyers, logbook dividers and notepads, plus a large banner, some tables and chairs for many future events.

I am looking forward to a good sleep, so will leave you with the graphics from the Kenworths on show and I would have to say, I believe, with only some obvious bias, they were the best looking trucks, both in and outside the show. The last photo speaks for itself as perhaps the most unique truck in some ways, but certainly drew much attention. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


16th May 2021 Truckshow Day 3

Goodaye all. As you might note from the time this is posted, I am technically late, but just think, if I get back at a reasonable hour tonight, you will have two posts in one day. It has been another good day, some more members signed up, a couple of steps forward for the next TIV, no one punched me in the arm or hurt my shoulder, a podcast interview, a video interview yesterday as well for Health in Gear and a well attended and successful NRFA and TB Insurance evening drinks and snacks, was held at Southbank Beer Garden with some welcome industry guests, finishing just after midnight, hence my late post.

Everyone behaved and enjoyed themselves, I had an interesting chat with a group of young blokes, (who I hope will all join) one of which was you may well be surprised, woken from his sleep to have his logbook checked! Not only is this not acceptable, it is not legal and flies in the face of authorities talk of us managing our fatigue and will be pursued. I have a list of a few other items to follow up on as well.

Some old friends dropped by to say hello and I managed to look at a few more stands. The line up of trucks outside the exhibition centre is impressive, photos tomorrow, so last day coming up and the following photos show what I believe to be two of the three trucks that built much of the road transport industry in Australia. The 1418 Mercedes Benz, the ACCO a 3070 and the missing truck, a B Model Mack. Do you agree?

The last photo is of an IOR tanker, with livery supporting industry and male health efforts, not a bad looking bit of gear. Till later tonight, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


14th May Truckshow Day 2

Goodaye all, I was lucky enough to get an invite to the Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL) breakfast, so in early and both a yoghurt /fruit then a hot breakfast set me up for the day. As with yesterday the speaker was intuitive, informative and entertaining. I did the rounds checking out stands, spoke with a couple more new members, enlisted a couple more during the day and got some photos.

The old and the older.

A beautifully restored Candy Apple Superliner and then the Mack H67 from a long time ago.

It is certainly a pity some of the big players pulled out of the show, many reasons may have been the factors, but the show must go on and has done well, with a crowd outside the main door this morning waiting for entry. The organisers have been happy with the turn out so far when I asked on the way out this evening. Thank you very much to ICEPACK Services for the invite to their evening get together just over the road. A terrific crew who have been TIV supporters for many years.

Old and new and new and newer.

The new SAR “Son of Nugget” on the Kenworth stand, then a beautifully restored W model with an original SAR in the background.

Expecting a big day tomorrow and enjoying speaking with friends and colleagues. My most interesting moment came when a driver asked was I Rod Hannifey and then went on to say I had saved his mates life recently. I asked how and his mate had been driving and without any suitable spots to park had got to the point of being very tired and needing to stop and came upon the green reflectors and was able to pull off the road safely and get some sleep. Those are the things that make my efforts worthwhile. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  


13th May 2021 Truckshow day 1

Goodaye all, no photos yet, will take camera tomorrow, but first day of the Brisbane Truckshow, the biggest trucking event in the Southern Hemisphere they billed it as, at the welcome breakfast this morning and they may well be right. From I think 21 exhibitors they quoted at the first Brisbane Truckshow at the old woolstores at Rocklea many years ago, to over 300 today.

From industry magazines and associations, to ancillary equipment, all the way up to the flashest blue trucks you will see in a while. Seems to be a theme with Western Star, Freightliner and Kenworth all in very similar hues of royal blue, but then trailers in all colours and configurations.

So I visited many of the sponsors of the TIV, a couple of NRFA and hope to have some more hopefully in the future for possibly tyres and a couple of other extras and discussing and looking for a better fuel deal for members with our current supplier, previously Caltex, now rebranding back to Ampol. We signed up perhaps a dozen new members today, the logbook dividers were well received by drivers and we had some good inquiries and in depth discussions with many stand visitors.

I signed up to Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds, did my planned health check at Health in Gear, who now have their first mobile van parked at the Kenworth stand, getting a pass, but a little hard to get a complete picture as one, wearing my sling to protect from back slappers and bumping for the shoulder injury/surgery and two, out of the truck and my semi-normal routine, but well worth the effort, cholesterol and Blood pressure good, so will be rearing to get back on the road in the new truck, now due on the road in July.

Thanks to all who dropped in, gave me their time and I hope to do it all again, tomorrow. Come and visit if you are at the show, stand 32 in the foyer. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


12th May 2021 Late but keen.

Goodaye all, sorry for the late blog, a busy week-end and had to have my column in early for Owner Driver magazine, as with the truckshow, they will be tied up later this week. The Brisbane Truckshow starts tomorrow and NRFA has a stand, number 32 in the foyer. Come along and visit us and join up. For those that join we will have my personally designed logbook divider sheet, with all the road authority numbers you need to ring up and report on road issues across Australia, along with other hopefully valuable information.

Some drivers I speak to have never used these avenues to report issues, some will not think anything will be done or they will simply not be listened to, but for example, how can someone in Brisbane know about the big dip at the Julia Creek turnoff south of Kynuna, unless someone reports it. Yes there is a local crew, but they have hundreds of kilometres to travel and repair and may not pick it up for some time. But if you think it warrants reporting, you can then help them to get it fixed earlier, perhaps helping reduce a risk to another driver, lessening or removing yet one more possible impact that may cause a component failure, if not then, but possibly thousands of kilometres later.

Victoria are currently the only state who will give you a reference number, but I have rang all but the NT and WA in the last few years and whilst some things take more time and may not be fixed as soon as we would like, the more reasoned and safety related complaints, the more likely the road authority is likely to act and fix the problem. One call may not see it fixed, but 5 may then make them think, this must be an issue and if we don’t fix it, we could be held liable. You must never abuse the person taking the call, they did not fail, they are simply taking the message and will aim to report it. You must be as succinct with the location as you can, so they know where and can then direct a crew to the problem and again, if you relate it to a road safety issue, they will be more likely to act.

This will be a short chat, I aim to do a blog with some pictures each night till Sunday and hope to be home Monday. I have been a good boy doing my exercises, they will be next after a shower, I have tried hydrotherapy, twice in the heated pool, went to physio before leaving Dubbo and will again when home Tuesday. Movement range of the shoulder is increasing slowly, sleep has improved now as I do not have to wear the sling to bed, but I am told to wear it in crowds, to both avoid people giving me the pat on the shoulder and with it on, you may get a slightly wider berth, thereby reducing the risk of it being bumped or hit. There is also the risk of an automatic and often instant but impossible to stop, reaction to an impact that could still undo the surgery before it has had time to fully heal.

So if you are planning to visit the Brisbane Truckshow, come and say hello and I will of course be seeking support from those who have confirmed participation in the next TIV and always happy to have others involved. Till tomorrow night, I hope and plan so far, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


2nd May 2021 Inquiries week.

Goodaye all. It has been a busy week. After the NSW Centre for Road Safety meeting in Dubbo last week, there was also a follow up survey that I completed in some detail, expanding on some of the subjects that allowed more than just a yes or no answer and then there was another meeting offered as online, but once committed and then participating, I found it was also in conjunction with a Sydney meeting, Tuesday at 6PM. So, I spent another two hours putting forward a truckies views to a small group through zoom. That left me time Wednesday to write and outline my summing up for the Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry in Canberra, at which I had been offered a half hour spot as the new President of the National Road Freighters Association.

Last year I had put in a written submission, at a time when few truckies had, then I was given an invite to speak at the Albury oral submissions with the then President of NRFA. I was able to get to Albury, sleep for the night and then Gordon picked me up from the truck and they allowed me to speak first, as I was loaded for Melbourne and had to get in, get unloaded and get reloaded and back out that day.

So this invite was a bonus and knowing the amount of time we had, I rang and asked could I lodge it in writing when I appeared, to make sure I wasn’t forced to leave something out, due to the timeframe. I was however asked to submit online, both so my points could be confirmed as within the terms of reference, but could also then be put before all those on the inquiry, some of whom were doing so by videoconferencing. That meant I had to write and submit it that afternoon, as we were leaving 5.30 AM Thursday morning.

When offered the spot and still being slingbound, I knew I could not drive, so put out a call on our NRFA WhatsApp and a new member to the board, elected when I had been, offered to take the day off, drive into Dubbo and stay Wednesday night, then drive down Thursday, take part and then return that evening. With Craig’s permission, as I did not want to take up even more of his time and delay him further from returning to work Friday, I sought meetings with the new Ceo of the Australian Trucking Association, and then Natroad and the Livestock Bulk and Rural Carriers Association in Canberra Thursday.

So another 1300 words submitted, then off early Thursday, arriving at Parliament house at 10.30, pretty much as we had planned, where I had to get Craig to give me a hand to put my belt back on after the metal detector would not let me through. Bloody sling! My submission covered 5 issues, each of which do affect my safety on the road, then three issues that would make the job better, if not specifically, safer.

We listened to a couple of submissions in front of us, had to leave for one which was in camera only, so grabbed a coffee then returned for our spot, but some had gone on a bit longer and we only started at 12.30 but pretty much finished just after 1PM and knowing it was all lodged, was happy to keep to the time allotted. We headed off happy with what he had got across and drove over to the ATA building, where all three groups I had hoped to visit, have offices.

In ringing NRFA members, one had raised an issue and I had followed up with Bec from LBRCA and she had not only congratulated me on my election as President, but had been very keen to work together in the future. At the LBRCA AGM in Dubbo, which I had attended with and thanks to Karina from the Newell Highway and Dubbo Bypass group, I had raised some issues, specifically about NSW RMS and truck rest areas and had both followed up sending the details to Bec, but also with the RMS staff who had attended as well. When I spoke with her about the Brisbane port issue, Bec was also very interested in our Triple P paper, Withdrawing Police powers to Police the HVNL, so I have sent her copies of that and the National Rest Area Strategy.

I had received an email before we left, that the Natroad Ceo would not be in, Bec from LBRCA had texted me while in chambers she was off crook and that meant we were a bit early for the ATA, but we went and asked if early was good, but he was tied up, so we grabbed a quick bite of lunch and then returned for our chat. The new Ceo of the ATA, Andrew McKellar had himself appeared before the Senate Inquiry the day before, but has only been in his new role for a short time, hence my making the effort to meet with him whilst in Canberra. Andrew was very generous with his time, was frank and very open about issues and I do hope we can work together towards mutual industry solutions to the problems that have plagued us for so long. I have sent him a copy of my submission and asked his support for both the National Rest Area Strategy and the National Road Standard.

My other big job this week has been to design from scratch, a logbook divider and flyers for NRFA which I must have to the printers tomorrow morning to have in time for the Brisbane Truckshow. It also has photos and all our member benefits and logos etc and has taken me hours, so not so many phone calls this week.

And just so you don’t think I have been bludging, I have started physio twice a week, have to do ten lots of exercises with heat pack first, exercise, then cold pack, three times everyday and whilst movement of the shoulder is slowly improving, the pain in both has got worse and sleeping is still difficult. But such is life and I know it will get better as I go along. I am not allowed to do any strength exercises till at least 14 weeks, all this is to get it to that point. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.