27th November Back in Mackay.

Goodaye all, well back in Mackay again, got in last night for a 35 hour break till I can unload Monday. Been a big week from the convoy last week, loading in Melbourne Monday with the wind and the curtains out level with the roof (not good for a perfect shoulder let alone a repaired one) but got to move up and finish loading with less wind. Then the long way round to Dubbo, that road across form the Hume is bad just like many others, the unsigned craters the worst, trying to pull up enough not to do damage, so on the brakes hard regularly in the night.

Grease the back turntable, had to adda couple of pallets and that delay (no good deed goes unpunished) meant when I rang to say an hour from Moree, sorry will be gone so night off and unload in morning. Had planned to be reloaded and out on the farm for Tuesday delivery, first of four loads. We had picked up the loads, but been unable to deliver and rain delayed need as well. However, Tuesday morn unload and reload and away.

Had an offer to follow another fellow in a ute to the farm, he thought there may be a shortcut, but we went all the way round first with about 10 k of dirt to the airstrip and unloading point. Unloaded with the crop dusters flat out up and down and went out the shortcut, all good. Funny that the dirt, yes with a soft spot and a couple of small humps for pipes etc, was still better than much of the first 50 k westbound from Moree and even much better than the hundreds of holes, a couple of serious failures and the myriad of trenches, craters and bumps on the bitumen road?

Two trips done each day, dropped plenty of dust each trip back and then told off to Newcastle to loads for up here. Didn’t quite make it, would love to have asked the yellow and orange truck was there a truck in front when he parked, because where he was you could only ift one truck in the spot just pats the BP at Murrurundi, so went into the next and nearly lost the truck and trailers in the hole. Full of stinking mud etc and been there for awhile, but managed to claw out and park on good ground, but then had to be nearly on the road, any further back and would have been bogged!

Off to the castle and rang the Murrurundi council, but got Singleton, explained the issue ansd the lady said she would be back to me by close of business that day. I was impressed, but a little doubtful. But true to her word, she rang me back about 3.30, telling me it is the responsibility of Tpt for NSW as it is on the highway. She had spoken with them and it was programmed for fixing before Xmas, but with all the gear out west, it may not get done.

She said it had been an ongoing issue, read back and forth for months to get something done, but a reminder to Tpt would not hurt. I did suggest though that a load of fill in there if it was going to be some time, would help and might lessen the severity of the issue. On the phone to Tpt NSW on 131700, round and round for a bit, then lost the call. How many of you have found phone service worse now? So rang again, explained again and had a bloke who said he might know someone who could help. Let’s hope and if you see it fixed, let me know.

No to compare that with the work of the road crew I had ben watching west of Moree may well be unfair. It must be a bugger of a job and fairly daunting at the moment, take a load of cold hotmix (mmm, wonder how well that will work when thrown in a hole?) enough for a days work and when you need about 30 loads, see how far it will go. Now I did this round trip 4 times in two days and yes, some holes were filled, but it looked like fill two miss five, fill two miss a crater, fill two and miss 10 was the plan.  No womper stomper or roller, maybe tamp with the foot or roll with the truck, but will they last a week, what value are we getting?  Again, not a job I want, but who makes suer we get some value from the effort?

I truly think we need some better oversight of road funding money. It is our lives on the road, yes the odd car might blow a tyre or break a rim, but not only do our trucks cop a flogging, so do we and we will still be blamed for breaking the road when it was not built or fixed properly in the first place. What do you think? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


20th November 2022

Goodaye all, just arrived in Melbourne, from Mackay, but managed to take part and visit for the Goulburn Convoy for Kids. It seems to have been a big week-end with I believe two other truck events on and unfortunately, these are often the only times we get any good press. The organisation and planning that goes on well before and during such events, is all too often unseen and unsung by those who simply take part.

Yes drivers and sometimes their families give up their rare free time to take part, often spending hours making the trucks look good, but unless we get the public in to such events, we are too often simply preaching to the converted. I still think we missed the one chance we may ever get during covid, to both be recognised and put our views and needs forward, because when the shelves were empty, suddenly the public realised they needed trucks. We were treated badly in so many ways, yet still expected to deliver everything to everyone.

The NRFA put out a six point plan, yes some covid stuff, but other long standing issues and we asked all other associations to back it. A couple did by phone and email, but none came out and helped push it and then of course, the shelves were refilled, still some shortages, but we were then forgotten again and remain that way now. We missed a big chance, but we as those still on the road really needed our associations to stand up for us and those who were still working simply can’t do it alone.

But back to Goulburn, it was I believe a record turnout for them, trucks were lined up to the top of Governors Hill and nearly filled the showground track, but then many of the drivers left soon after and at 5.30, I was the last truck on the track when I left. There was still a band and it did rain a bit, but I think the organisers, all the public, families and kids who attended seemed to get good value and enjoy the show. I would have liked to see some more interaction between the trucks, drivers and public and will work on how that might happen, but well done to all involved, organisers, supporters and participants.

The roads and rain have played havoc with many people’s lives and homes, but the roads have not coped and the damage to them and then the cost and increased damage and maintenance to every truck on the road, let alone the added time, distance and fuel seems to be ignored by all except for those who have to pay for it. Not as important if you have lost your home, but our lives on the road are not valued very highly by anyone other than us it seems at times and this must change.

There is still so much to fix to have every driver safe, well paid and with a life that will never be the same as those who can be home each night or even work from home, but if we don’t or won’t help one another, who else will. I would like you to think on this. The good old days, weren’t that good except in memories and then you forget all the bad stuff, but we can improve the future, but only if we try and we work together. How to get you all involve3d to do this is the big question. Yes I would live to see every truckie do more, or just do one thing to make things better, but that is only likely to happen in my dreams. What can you do, what will you do, to help? Let me know. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


13th November 2022

Goodaye all, well 14 hours home in my first three weeks back on the road. Visited last Wednesday night, back to work Thursday morning with a big plan and nearly had it all undone by a “T” piece. Had an airbag replaced, off on the plan and got loaded in Parkes, then smelt something burning and found link trailer bags flat. Found the leak and rang work, will find a bit and send someone, then had an offer from a young lady in the industry who got their mechanic out, but they did not have the right fitting and my plan all nearly fell to bits.

I wanted to be in Mackay (yes again for the week-end) so I could attend a Central Qld Heavy Vehicle Forum on Wednesday. Then I had plans to be home for the dentist Saturday, (yes done) then Monday, visit a doctor, get the trailers relined, some work on the truck and so far so good. The time I lost for the T piece in the end meant I had to fit in a break, so to be still able to unload, get reloaded, get to Mackay for 24 hour break etc. Got there and found there was another truck in front of me, but ended up loading out Monday and again Tuesday to be back Tuesday evening for a shower and bed before the event.

Yes it was ambitious to plan so much and so far ahead, what the hell was I thinking and to have it all nearly brought undone by an air leak, no one else would understand. But by a bit of an effort, it worked. The event in Mackay went well, I hope it will have some effects and will pursue in the future. I do think this went well, could see some change for the future and thank the organisers for the invite. Thanks also to all others who attended, there was one other driver and many government bodies who I hope will act. You never know if you never go, but if you don’t, you certainly will not be heard.

Got loaded Thursday and even then on the way home managed to attend the Transport for NSW Regional Freight Forum in Narrabri Friday (having missed the Dubbo one last week). My EWD kept me legal and on time, but I had to use all my hours on a couple of days and having that, meant no hours stolen by the stupid rounding rules that take our time and refuse to consider that loss and it ramifications.

Had a couple of drivers call me up for various reasons, mostly good, some off to court, some wanting things fixed etc. I keep trying, but there is only one of me and until you all join the NRFAS and help, it is a slow and arduous process to get anything fixed. Some light at the end of the Tpt for NSW tunnel, I was able to raise a list of issues, hope some have even been already looked at, some road issues north of Moree, some recognition of my efforts re rest areas and some further inclusion of others to see that start to improve.

A bit late, had to help a daughter and now to bed to complete tomorrows tasks and get to work in the evening if all goes well. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


6th November 2022 Back in sunny Mackay for a HV Road Safety Forum

Goodaye all, back in sunny Mackay this morning to unload tomorrow, possibly reload and do a Tuesday delivery then attend and speak at a Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Forum here on Wednesday. Then I load Thursday in Rockhampton and home. Floods tried to delay me on the way home last week, but I just beat them closing the road. We all make plans, sometimes you wonder if it is worth it, but “If you fail to Plan, you plan to fail” as the saying goes.

Floods etc are hard to plan for and it seems airline fittings letting go after getting a new air bag can be much more an issue. That fitting caused me a lot of grief, lost sleep and concern on whether I would be able to achieve all the stuff I had planned for the next week plus. I was invited to attend this forum months ago just after my shoulder surgery. As we run up here a bit, I thought, instead of losing days off and flying about (and from Dubbo it would have been at least three flights each way) I thought I would try and sort it with work in mind. Now it will still cost me and my family lost income, work will lose a bit too, but less than if I had taken the time off to attend which would have ended up three days or more and being in the middle of the week up here, possibly a full week near lost.

The federal funding for truck rest areas is a leap and a good one, but we are not only coming from such a low base, we are years behind and much has been done wrong and money wasted. I travelled out the Peak downs Highway last week, the Leichardt, Dawson, Fitzroy Development Road and Newell to get home and then the Pacific and the Bruce on the way up. Stopping Bays!!!!! Who designs, decides where they go and why are there ten in a row and then nothing for hundreds of k. Out of Hay, into Roma, north from Emerald, someone has made an effort to put them in. But without the green reflectors, the ones in Central Qld don’t exist at night and with no prior warning, aren’t much better in the day.

When the Pacific Highway was first opened from Newcastle, I lodged a complaint that the Stopping Bays there all had long black skidmarks, as trucks had tried to stop at the last minute. On the Peak Downs Highway, west of Nebo, most are at the bottom of a hill, similar on the Pacific now, but even worse, many are round corners. How can you design and build a “road safety” feature that completely ignores trucks? Some of these sites are round blind corners. A fully loaded semi, let alone a b-double, will pull out at a few kilometres an hour and take some time to accelerate, yet the highway traffic will come round the corner and find them barely moving, is that safe?

On the Bruce there are currently many worksites, yet I did not see one of them that will include a truck rest area, let alone Stopping Bays. There is no shoulder and very few safe places to pull off the road from Childers north, there are big gaps and lots of traffic and whether you hit a roo, need a pee or are simply tired and need to stop or get out and walk around the truck to get to the next formal site, good luck. There are a number of sites (and some stockpile sites too) that would suit marking with green reflectors and the couple that are marked have been there for a long time, but TMR have done little to change things since I complained well over 15 years ago when I was running up here in tankers.

Last week when I was up here, I helped another driver find his phone lost in the truck and then borrowed his bit set to fit these. Having seen them before (and you can get them powder coated as well, but as shown are $460 plus GST a set from Warwick Qld and you can phone on 0432176366. They make good use of the space and are worth the money and fit straight on.

Just for fun, old mate had been and done his washing, the small machine at the BP was not up to the task and he had to go to the laundromat, but this clothesline worked well.

Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.