24th April 2022 Truck rest areas an election topic?

The following is my overall reply to comments on Glen Sterle’s Facebook page, regarding funding for truck rest areas. As at the bottom, have any of you spoken, emailed or even raised this or any other transport issue, with your local candidates? Will you? If you don’t, will they even know of these issues, unlikely? I am not telling you or anyone how to vote, or who to vote for. As I have done, my local bloke is in government now, but I have put him on notice, these issues may influence how I vote. He could ignore me, but not hundreds of others who raise the same concerns, or will at his peril. If they don’t listen, then are they there for you and your problems?

We have all been told what a marvelous job we have done carrying the country through all this, but honestly, what have we got, bad roads, (yes councils too have staff and covid issues, but the road is our “unrecognised” workplace and it is OUR LIVES at risk) fines, delays, a ludicrous and virtually ignored “national freight protocal” and what did they do to our truckstops, closed them, opened them after we complained, then let police browbeat servos, staff and truckies who tried to eat. So we and want stuff done, yes we as truckies have been promised and told it will be fixed, but please show me anyone else who has had a goo and some success, as Glen has.

If you have a solution, if you have a local candidate who will help you and us, let me know, because I don’t know of one yet. I do not expect to change the outcome, I just want a fair go and some money for truck rest areas is to me, a good start.

Goodaye all, I will not answer everyone separately, but want to make a few things clear. I have never before seen or heard of any government, that will put up this sort of money for truck rest areas and I believe Glen when he tells me it is set to be available in the first budget. I agree it will not fix all our issues, but it is a good start and it will be decided by drivers as it says, not by pollies. It will not all go on new sites, there are a range of activities, from dealing with local councils to allow truck parking in industrial areas (for example like in Heathwood, where as in Sydney you will get a ticket) dealing with councils to try and arrange use of suitable stockpile sites, upgrading some sites and even providing some green reflector bays where there are large gaps now. Yes, one big need is Clybucca, but to simply spend all the money there or in two great big sites, will only help a few. We will seek input from drivers, we will have a plan ready for when the funding will be available, tentatively November if they are elected. I have sent an email to my local member, a Nat, asking if he is aware of the Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry and asked why not a single one of the recommendations has been even considered by the current government. I have asked him to match both the Labor offer and to support implementation of the inquiry recommendations, but have not yet received a reply. I said his answers may influence how I vote. I would ask all of you, how many of you have asked your member what they will do for us? You are more then welcome to comment here, but how many of you will make the effort to put pressure on any or every person nominating for your vote? If you don’t, who will? If they are not even aware of the inquiry recommendations, how are they likely to support them and yes, they include the need for more truck rest areas. It will not fix it overnight, it will be a start and if the success Glen has had getting toilets cleaned etc is anything to go by, he won’t quit early either. How many of you have had a fuel company listen to you? No one can fix it all, someone has to try and make a start and if no one else makes any effort, except on social media, what do you think will change? Push and ask and seek your local member to do something, ANYTHING for road transport and we might just achieve something. Rod Hannifey.


17th April 2022 Carting Rhinos and Stone the Crows!!

Goodaye all, you may call me the Rhino whisperer, but details to follow. Our southbound passenger took a bit of quieting before he would go into the cage and delayed our departure from Dubbo till 9.30 AM and it is about 13 hours driving to Monarto Park near Murray Bridge, but a few quick checks along the way showed he was travelling well. My human passenger has been at the Dubbo Zoo for 20 years and was required to accompany me to keep tabs and look after our male white Rhino who was off to visit some new lady friends.

We arrived around 11.30 PM, having of course needed to comply with logbook regs and were put up in the park, but then there was the “Nightshift” to chat on and I did beg off a bit early to get some sleep. The quarantine enclosure was off in a tight spot and took some manoeuvring to get in and I did put a small mark on the bottom of the bullbar on a rock I did and could not see, but don’t tell the driver, or he will be pissed even more then he was then.

I had to screw round inside a holding yard, miss some tree stumps and line up, to unload and then reload. Got some photos of the delivery before we left and hit the road again, but did some tree clearing with the trailer, to get out, but not a mark on it and they had wanted them removed for some time they said.

Another fairly quiet and simple trip and back into Dubbo late Tuesday and had arranged to sleep in the truck at the zoo, far too late to go home and had to be out again the next day. Got to bed after midnight and about 3AM, the truck was rocking that hard, I thought I would fall out of bed. No one else about of course and I thought, I will either find a problem and have to start ringing zoo people, talk to the Rhino and make it worse, or maybe, calm him down.

He was rockin and swayin, but seemed in one piece and we had a quick chat. I told him I was there and it was all good and he should go to sleep for now, till we let him out in the morning and I went back to bed and woke with the alarm after 6AM, so it seemed to work. Then it was to work and off to load enroute to a timeslot at Barnawartha for Thursday morning (any of you who deliver to Woolies DCs will know about the new Sine App needed) and it was my first time and did not go perfectly, but did get sorted.

I backed into the finger dock as a b-double, having passed their test some years ago, but that was an issue with Pilons based in Dubbo, but did get sorted after a few calls and some common sense prevailed. I had a problem with a gate, it would not go in the hole and slipped and put all the weight on my left arm, which was already sore from a fight with a trailer curtain last week.

But off to Melbourne, unload, back to the yard when Wayne had waited to loads me, Rick helped and cooked my tea while he was waiting for his new engine install to be finished. I had to get my Owner Driver column in, another story and then be in Wagga for the “Stone the Crows” Festival. It is one of the few venues where both caravanners and motorhomers attend together. You can stay for the four days of Easter or 7 and they have entertainment from comedy, music, poetry and many other activities.

So column and story done in to the shower and pop, it seems I have just done my left bicep. MMM, we will see how that goes and works out later. Then a call, Rick’s truck is ready, so I dropped him off to Cummins on the way out.

I was invited to the “Stone the Crows” some years ago by one of the organisers who used to be part of “Rig Radio” a national trucking radio show run out of the Wagga Community radio station and have attended (Covid stopped it for the last two years like so many other events) each Easter and done presentations of sharing the road with trucks and have many friends and supporters there. I ask, Pilons help with suitable loads and we had to push and squeeze a bit this year, but got there very early Friday morning. Yes I give up two days of my time, but I do feel it is worth it.

I did a one and half hour presentation, including the “Sharing Truck Rest Areas” and “Caravans and Roadtrains” videos done with Stephen from WhitelineTV at 3PM. At 11AM Saturday, I showed some photos and discussed my Churchill Fellowship trip, rest areas, Channel 18 and many other issues and on both days, had good questions, feedback and after my talks, invited people to have a look inside the cab. I must say the fold out steps on the K200 are a terrific help for this. Many RVers are getting on and whilst I am still happy to climb up and down, it is much safer for them with the steps and allows some who would not normally consider looking, a chance to do so safely.

At the 2017 Stone the Crows, a b-double amongst 400 plus caravans and motorhomes.

Numbers were down a bit on previous shows, but many attend this event each year and so I have already spoken and preached to many of those there, but still got questions, visits and comments, outside of my presentations. The truck was not perfectly clean and I only had one good looking trailer, still waiting for the b trailer of the 50 year Pilon set to be completed, but all were keen to chat and look and listen.

You cannot make people attend such things, but those who do, do so with at least an open mind and many have come to me after and said they had learned or at least, better understood some of our issues etc. I cannot get to them all, I can only get to those who want to listen and if I can educate some, perhaps they will carry that message to others, some even tell me it has happened from past presentations, let’s hope. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


10th April 2022 Trangie Truck Show. The wet show of the west.

Goodaye all, well it was with a wet set of clothes as I tried to wash the truck, the more I did the more it rained, so I gave in and thought, at least I will still be there. It was Saturday morning, having only got home late Friday afternoon and I did have some things to complete if I could, before the show. So I must thank the team at Simmos Signs Dubbo, not only for their help and design efforts, but for waiting till I got there after 5PM, me still dripping wet from unhooking etc and working till nearly 8PM, THANK YOU. I will follow up and show you their efforts next week.

Now many had arrived at Trangie early and had beautiful clean trucks (and one side of mine was) and it rained all the way out from Dubbo, some quite heavy and into the first hour of the show, but about 9 AM the rain lifted with only some sprinkles, till immediately after the ceremony and awards at the showgrounds around 3PM.

The organisers had said the show would go on and they stood their ground and I believe were rewarded with someone said, near or perhaps over 200 vehicles entered across all categories, cars, bikes, trucks and tractors, so well done to all who braved the weather to attend, to all the organisers and crew behind them for what turned out to be a terrific effort.

Yes they had truck awards, but I was unaware till the end that they are starting a Hall of Fame and whilst they don’t have a hall yet (but the mayor was there presenting and they did put him on the spot for the hall) they inducted the first 6 members, all locals and industry stalwarts and long time transport operators.

It was said the Hall of Fame at Alice is a long way away and to have something very nearly in the centre of NSW would be good for the industry and a couple did make some big claims that with better weather and local support etc, it could go on to become a very serious and special industry event and I wish them all the best.

Given the weather, it can be assumed some of the people from further away may have decided it was too much and whilst there were not hundreds of cars, there were some nice ones and some unusual ones on show. I planned to get a photo of the grand car winner,  but he got away, though I do hope to follow up next week if I can with all the winners and details, but the TRANGIE TRUCK SHOW Facebook page will cover it all for you to look at.

I had planned to provide some photos, but have spent the afternoon tyring to fit clear coat to the bullbar as it has started to chip. I had planned to have it fitted before it hit the road, but all the things which delayed it and see me still trying to complete it to where I can simply work, meant that was not possible. I got most of the bars done, but still have more to do and have to be early to load my rhino in the morning to go to a game park in SA. It will be an interesting trip and I am bringing another home, trying then to get to Melbourne and be back in Wagga for the “Stone the Crows” festival where I will do presentations on Easter Friday and Saturday about sharing the road with trucks.

So as always a quiet, restful and nothing to do week-end visiting Dubbo. But I love doing much of it, though it does frustrate me at times and of course has an impact on my family that I will never be able to compensate for. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


3rd April 2022 Visiting home again.

Goodaye all. Home for a visit after two weeks away in the Western Province and I must give a big thank you to Transport SA for getting behind the green reflectors and marking many bays north from Port Augusta, almost to the border. Someone we both know had been marking them as time permitted etc and after a call from James at Big Rigs regarding a story they had printed about green reflectors going up on the Princess Highway last year, I chased them and Transport SA and spoke with a fellow there.

Whilst I haven’t heard back from him directly since then, there are far more up now than before and no one else is silly enough to do it on their own. They are using the correct reflectors, their spacings are good and all we need now is some posters to make other drivers aware of them. I asked a few on the way back and forth and some knew, but others didn’t and both agreed it was a good idea and thanked me for making them aware.

I am currently working with a Victorian road safety group and hope to mark some of the overlap bays for the wire rope on the Hume Highway. I have been in contact with Vicroads since they started putting the stuff up and yes, it may well save some car drivers lives, but it has made it impossible for us in trucks to stop safely on the shoulder for any reason at all.

So I asked for some wider bays, but they only did a few and they weren’t marked in any way (but they did retain and surround the northbound bays already marked), but then I had another discussion when they announced they were doing the whole length of the Hume and I asked for more.

They changed the overlaps in the wire and now we have places that you can pick out a bit ahead in the daytime, but they are virtually invisible at night till you are on them, hence the ongoing, now into 18 months, aim to mark them with green reflectors and it looks as though the only way it will happen, is with the help of this group.

It is I fear much like so many things to do with trucks, people with good intent, do not have a real clue and whilst they aim to help, more often than not, they either don’t or make it worse. In the phone hook up I did with the NTC HVNL review fellow, he truly asked, “Are all these fines for logbooks etc real, the {Police say it is not an issue” and for them, it is simply another ticket, an easy mark and another strike against a driver. “Yes I said, they are real, bullshit, overzealous and the penalties and the level of them, have nothing to do with road safety and that is why I wrote to every Police Commissioner in Australia.

 They said fix the law and I thought that this review was supposed to do that and yet here we are, still asking for a fair go and still waiting for it to be fixed and drivers are still getting large penalties for clerical errors. This must be fixed now, not in another three of four years.

All washed and clean in Kewdale, ready to load then back to the border.

Loaded out of Perth, ad some tarp fun, two rolled up inside out, one was a rigid tarp, no shorteners at all and the other only bottom ones, so with two trailers to load and three short length tarps, not my best tarp job, but made it work and got it home.

Truck in for service tomorrow and back to work Tuesday, but hoping to get a few other jobs done, including some further signwriting etc. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.