Goodaye all, what a week and the next will be very interesting. How are we supposed to keep up when not only do they move the goalposts, they move the bloody field as well. Who makes such decisions without consultation and speaking to the one group most affected, whether it is the Qld border issue, “You need a jab to come in, does it apply to truckies, were not sure we’ll get back to you, no it doesn’t” so why did you scare the life out of many, just for fun!!!
We have complained about Police interpretation of laws and look what happens, some Police decide to interpret the law, that truckstops are restaurants, so we can’t use them and when we fight back, they then close the lot, only to find, “They are wrong!!!” Who will be held accountable and I have asked Glen Sterle and his office this specific question? How can they either individually or then the whole force, go against a National decision made when this happened the first time, that we might be close to human and need a feed, shower, toilet or sit down meal, to be able to keep delivering every single thing they use???????????????????
So much for truckies general health, let alone their mental well-being on the road. We are already being treated like lepers, allowed to carry companies freight so they can make a profit, but not allowed to use their toilets. No wonder people think we want to block the roads, there is without doubt, a lot of concern, frustration and genuine pain and suffering doing the job now, let alone these groups overriding national rules that might just allow us to survive, so we can keep carrying this country.
Then this group of Facebook warriors claims we are all in “it” we are going to block the roads and overthrow the government, but did one of you hear which of our problems they plan to solve, or how, or even a whisper that will even think of us, once they rope the few in and then blame the failure on us? Everything I have seen and heard so far, say this is a group that plan to use us, not to help us at all. And yes, many people say they are behind “us”, but will this blocking the roads actually solve one of our issues, let alone fix them all? NO IT WON’T.
There was the strike affecting Toll drivers, a completely separate issue and now another group of truckies have got to the end of their tether and started another stoppage tomorrow. As above, I have not heard any solutions, but recognise the frustration.
If we could agree on six problems and provide six solutions (remember the government do not even know what the problems are, they don’t live on the road and unless they are saying we are important to show “they care”, I fear they don’t care at all), this would be my list.
- We are happy to do our part and be tested every 7 days, nothing less is necessary or fair on us, unless they provide numerous 24/7 testing centres in places we can all access. This must include sites where we can get vaccinations. We were left out from the essential list for so long and it will take time to catch up and trying to keep working, get tested every three days and still have to book and que weeks in advance and lose more time and pay to get vaccinated is not only unjust, but unworkable for some.
- We will apply for and carry a national freight permit if required, valid in every state and for a minimum period of 14 days. The states must abide by this, there will be no rule or border changes without industry consultation and without less than two weeks notice.
- As now, truckstops must be allowed to operate, we must have access to toilets, showers and facilities if you want us to continue carrying your needs and not get sick or tired trying to comply with multitudes of different rules each day. No facility can refuse us access to a toilet, we will happily wipe down a seat before and after use. If refused or they fail to provide us with such facilities (as they must do under law for their staff) they should be fined. How many of you do not have access to a toilet? Do you really want us to pee and poo in your garden?
- There must be a moratorium on non road safety related logbook fines. We are not lawless or above the law, but any fines issued by Police under the HVNL, must be reviewed by NHVR before they will be actioned. We do hope the HVNL review will affect some of these concerns, but it will not solve this for many months and we cannot continue being fined for clerical and minor time errors. The cost to the community of us fighting such onerous fines for little more than a mistake, is not only a waste of taxpayers money, it is not in any way, fair justice.
- We require a national road standard, the road to be accepted as our workplace, major crashes investigated and not simply the driver charged first and last. Roads and road repairs must meet that standard or be repaired to that standard within an agreed time frame.
- There must be a national truck rest area strategy to provide suitable and sufficient truck rest areas. This to improve our safety and that of other road users, to improve our ability to get good quality sleep as and when needed. In relation to drivers and sleep, there must be consultation on reasonable size sleeper berths. Not more freight, but better places to live and sleep in when on the road.
The above to be done with reference to a panel of road safety, road authority and truck representatives, this will include some of the trucking associations and some drivers and owner drivers and be set up immediately to provide input and fairness.
The top four items are achievable, reasonable and will provide some balance and consistency to allow us to do our job and deliver the needs of the Australian people and will cost the government no upfront cash, but will make trucking safer and fairer.
The last two can be set in motion, the roads will take time and we accept that, but it must be started and committed to and will save lives and money in the future if done properly. The last will take time, but can be done in a cheap interim way, whilst the longer term plan is set up and rolled out.
I don’t think any of this is too much to ask and if we don’t get a fair go, many will go broke and lose all and if not, there will be not only more unrest, there will be tragedies on the road caused by people trying to comply and yet stay safe, fit and capable of doing this job.
I would welcome your views. Thanks Rod.