18th July Number 2

Goodaye all, sorry for the gap, I had the last one already for last week and the videos would not load, then I got sidetracked just a bit. Much has happened and the ramping up of testing and the lowering of how we are treated in some places, seems to show the bad and then the worst.

I was though invited into a phone hook up Friday, but when first asked, I was led to believe the changes were specifically for Syd/Melb runners, due to the Sydney issue and then the removalists too. However, at the meeting when I asked about Bris/Melb runners, they said “Don’t you go through Sydney?” and some do, but not all. I explained we go through Dubbo, but was then told all of NSW was now considered a hotspot.

So prior to midnight Friday, there was to be details and explanations provided, with the requirement for testing every three days for those truckies entering Victoria. Now there are always two sides to a story. It was emphatically stated and agreed, we as an industry have done a good job, we have not been involved with spreading the virus and have continued to do our jobs. But, they know how many trucks cross the border each night and they are all meant to have permits, yes they are onerous and take time and effort, but that has been why we have had a reasonable run, till they counted the permits issued against the number of trucks.

It would seem, even if you take into account those who may run up and down each night with the permits done as needed, there are far too many not doing that at all. So what do the government do, they say, enough! Now SA has gone even further requiring testing every two days and I do think that is not only difficult without the facilities and the time involved, it is nearly impossible for some.

What can we do? We can get our permits and do our testing and hope that this two week set up with Victoria shows we are not the problem they perceive we might be and it may well revert to the previous set up, but we will have to ensure we keep up our end. Without testing available on the highway and 24 hours a day, how can you get it done without not only impacting your fatigue, but be able to get the job done?

They will not be calling every truck in, this is a soft closure, but if you are caught not complying and can be shown to have had the chance, but could not be bothered, the future may look much worse. Please make the effort, but if you try and cannot comply, then we must have reasons why. Please let me know if you have troubles getting tested, they are saying you will be able to at Kalkallo inbound and Broadford outbound. Now using the weighbridge won’t affect us, but if they take the Kalkallo pads and parking away, that could be a problem.

Similarly, I have had complaints about the loss of parking at Chiltern, and did contact those involved with the meeting and the VTA. This was the reply from the DOT Victoria,

The Chiltern rest area checkpoint is used on a sporadic basis by VicPol and was established at VicPol’s direction approx. 10 days ago.  Its used for light vehicle checks and, as far as I know, not for freight, but we recognise that this does impact on the freight industry as it reduces the number of rest stops available to manage fatigue.  Even when the site is not operational (approx. 3 days a week) the rest area remains closed as we have been asked by VicPol to keep the checkpoint infrastructure in place as they reserve the right to activate it at short notice.

I have replied just now and we will see. The next issue is again, being refused access to toilets etc. Would you all agree, you would be happy to wipe toilets seats before and after use with wipes being provided, rather than told, “You can’t use our toilets”? I do not condone actions that will make things worse, but imagine if pollies in Parliament House and Police on the road were refused access to toilets? I can’t solve the problems, but I do care and will keep trying. Safe Travelling, Rod


18th July Number 1

Goodaye all. How can we ever get a fair go, when we can’t even get a standard border pass and or protocol for state borders now. We explained what the issue is, we can’t all carry another forest worth of permits for each state each week, nor can we comply when you change things overnight.

You know we will do our best to comply, you know we can’t afford hours and hours of delays at borders, yet what has been done to solve this, nothing? If the pollies ran out of toilet paper, maybe then we would get some action and common sense if both formulating, applying and managing such things would get them a clean bum?

Truck lanes at borders will cost nothing, will help flow and give us a chance to deliver that paper and everything else. The states all want to be different, they want to maintain their power base, we understand all that, but why would you make things that much harder to cross borders when we supposedly all live in Australia?

We have come some way to having national transport rules, some will say we still have a long way to go, but at least now we have two sets of rules, one for the east with NHVR and one for the west and north, better than 7 sets.

So then we have the issues of lack of rest areas and even with the Pacific Highway, with millions spent improving it, there was no provision for a change over facility included. We are pushed to be compliant, we struggle to get drivers due to lack of facilities etc and when we set things up so a driver can get in a loaded truck, drive to the half way point, change trucks or trailers, then drive home and have another local driver unload and reload for the next night, so the interstate driver is home in his own bed each day, we need places to change the trucks and or trailers.

We waited 30 years to get one on the Hume at Tarcutta and we needed one 15 years ago on the Pacific, but now it is all four lanes and truly, probably the one of if not the best road in Australia, there is not enough rest areas and no where set up for changeovers. How can this be so? Are we truly that less of a group of workers, that we don’t need toilets or places to sleep or comply than any other working group?

Back to the Churchill Fellowship videos. Now for those of you who enjoy watching trucks go round and round, or spinning up tyres and doing burnouts, this may be something you enjoy. It is not everyday you see prime movers towing caravans with only one intent, but it seems the Poms have a funny sense of humour. Now I am not making any comments other than, it is a truckshow and such things seem to be enjoyed by the crowds, I had even heard of it before I visited the Convoy in the Park, so it seems they have done it before, but please do not take offence if you are a vanner. I didn’t do it! Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.