26th February 2023

Goodaye all, Monday and Tuesday in Canberra for the inaugural meeting of the Truck Rest Area Steering Committee. All ten members attended and whilst we discussed many things, some with passion, there was never a raised voice or heated word. There was some frustration, some of the things we would all like to see fixed and or improved, are “outside the remit of the committee”.

This is of course government speak for “you can only affect the things the committee is charged with acting on”, but we had some others attending from other areas and whilst the other things raised cannot be acted on directly by us, we can always hope there are those who can and who will. But no guarantees.

Did we solve all the issues of the last 20 years, of course not, no one can in two days after having states and others ignore us for the last 20. Am I positive we can see change? I think all members want to see it, we had a wide enough group, but not too many to find agreement on most things, we know what is needed, the thing now is to keep pushing and working towards a set of guidelines and then push those hard.

Will we fix it in a year, no. Will we all be trying, yes. To any who can do better, please let me know how. The funding is there, the need is overwhelmingly there and we just need the right focus and effort from states, local councils and of course, the road authorities to act. If I could have a bobcat and a month and permission, (which will never happen), I could fix some things in the short term, but we need that and long term solutions as well. So we will see.

Starting work in the middle of the week can be fun, when the trailers are not ready and things have not gone to my plan, then it can be a real bugger and so from finally getting to work, finishing loading trailers and hitting the road Wednesday evening, I was running all week to make it work. Dubbo to Shepparton, to Melbourne, to Sydney and then home Saturday morning to spend a few quality hours doing some of the things Ion the trailers I had hoped would be done while I was off did again, not win me friends at home.

But the truck got serviced and the new wings fitted and another few hours today and the Ecofins are now fitted on both sides, but still the top of the cab to do. With some more work on the trailers, a few more jobs on the truck to complete and I should have this set just perfect in time for the new ones, once we can agree on the configuration.

Have some more jobs to do, audio books and an NRFA report, so will talk to you all next week. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hanifey.   


19th February 2019 Conference and join an association, preferably the NRFA.

Goodaye all, again short, trying to write submissions, letters of support, sort life and try and not upset all family all at once, then off to Canberra tomorrow to be in deeper shit. So be it.

As I said last week, conference went well, thanks to the many who worked to make it happen, provided support or auction items. Our NRFA Facebook page has a list and we had logos and banners from most on display at the event. Also those who attended in whatever capacity, our speakers and our panel members, the crew who did the rollover recovery demonstration and those who organized and helped with that.

Of course the work that comes from the conference, will decide in the longer term how effective it was and all that takes more time and effort. Had a driver approach me Monday morning speaking of yet again, lack of industry consultation on rest areas. This time a specific case and waste and I am following that up with him and will raise in Canberra. We have a long way to go, but I am positive we can achieve some improvements in the short term and more in the long term.

Yes I have seen all the naysayers bag the funding, the committee and life in general. What have those done to help. Will they join as association, no. WHY NOT? We have all been burnt by those who promise the world and then deliver nothing. I have never promised, I have said I will try and I would hope most of you would agree, I have. Have I done enough, some of you would say no, my family will say way too much.

Will I keep trying, yes for a few years yet, will I survive, who knows? Again I will ask you to join the NRFA. I will not promise you anything except to show over 20 years of effort. Has that achieved anything you rightly ask? Much of the effort you will never see or here of any of those results or even simply attempts to see change. I am not here to list crow or tally them, simply to try and make those of you who watch but don’t act, aware of the timer and effort it takes to get anything done.

I have had rest area designs changed, sites fixed cleaned, improved and built. I had had roads fixed, improved and repaired and of course the blue/green reflectors have seen about once every few months, someone tell me it has helped and even occasionally ,I am told I have saved a life. But I have not solved the industries problems and if you think I have failed there, then what have you done to help.

The NRFA is recognised, is working, struggles to have the time money and resources to go to every meeting and respond to every request. Could you do it< I doubt it but please give it a try or support those who do it for you. Can we fix everything, No and we will never say we can, but will we try yes. So if you can’ or won’t put in 20 hours a week, will you support others who do? If you join NATROAD or your state association, it will cost you much more, they want your numbers and input like we do. Will you get good value, only you can answer that.

If the NRFA had 1000 members out of the 200,000 truckies, not a lot to ask, we could do more and so could I. Join one, anyone, contribute in a small way and help us to help you, if you won’t, then stop whinging and complaining on social media and in truckstops that the industry is buggered. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  


12th February 2023 National Road Freighters Association Conference.

Goodaye all, home for a short visit, try to sort some storm damage but not enough time to complete it all, and have to head out to Nyngan to unload in the morning. My first but only 7 hours home in two weeks, so will be short.

The National Road Freighters Association AGM was held Friday night and with a couple of new board members and one swap of positions, the board was voted in and I was returned as President. I only made it there by ten minutes, then went and had a shower and then we had dinner and a last minute sort for the conference. The Conference held at the RSL in Wagga started off with a semi trailer recovery demonstration which went well and drew a good crowd, then we headed in to the nitty gritty.

From where I sit, it went well and many did comment the same. I did get told of one fellow who said he would not be attending another. When I asked him politely “Why?” he said we are still trying toi fix the same problems from 20 years ago and I said “Yes, but if there was no one here, then nothing would even remotely be likely to change and we now have both federal funding and support, along with truckies on the steering committee for truck rest areas, a scenario few would ever have imagined and it will still take time, but you must agree, a big leap”.

I was asked by someone else earlier in the week about why drivers won’t do this or that to see things change. I replied virtually word for word, we are still working on the same stuff and they have every right to be both frustrated and cynical. We have been promised solutions form every inquiry I and others have contributed to over the last 20 years with little change, till now. At least, that is my hope and belief. If I didn’t think there was some value in giving up my time and losing earnings, I would not be able to keep doing it simply for fun.

Others asked how it went and I said, “The conference went well on the day, but the real work and any value, will come more from what happens following the event”. Chasing up on discussions, invites to participate in some more bodies, so more time off to do so, but it is hard to complain something is not done or fixed, if you don’t turn up to have a say. I would welcome comments from others who attended, from that perspective, often it is hard from inside to know if you have hit the mark, the right mix of information, discussion and hopeful;;y, some conclusion, or at least, a path towards same.

I will though thank all the board, and a couple who carried most of the load setting it all up, thanks to the CandC team, every who put in time and effort to attend for the NRFA and all the guests and supporters. Those I will thank both personally and in the next post, but have to shower and go. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


5th February 2023

Goodaye all, back in lovely warm and muggy Mackay, got in Saturday evening after loading Friday morn, but I had to wait in Sydney for nearly two days for the mezzanine floors to turn up for this load. They were coming, but that truck had a problem and I waited some more, hoping they would be done and tidied, as they had been taken out during the refurb and then disappeared. I eventually found them, asked to have them cleaned up welded etc, but it was only partly done, but they will do the job and I will push to get them fixed when we can.

The unload in Sydney at Auburn was fun, glad I asked about b-doubles, trouble with the single with the roadworks out the front and a site, not real truck friendly, but all done. Certainly got more on with the mezzes, but longer to load and unload tomorrow morning, then sort out which mines to visit and do a couple of days here.

This will be an interesting week for timing as have to be in Wagga for the NRFA Conference Friday/Saturday, but hoping it will come together, either I get in and out of Melbourne Friday or load for Melb Friday out of Dubbo for Monday delivery and go down that way.

Caught up on some cab cleaning, but even had the shirt off in the cab with the Icepack on today, did some writing, making a long and detailed reply to the request from Transport NSW for information on truck rest areas. Have been informed of first steering committee meeting in Canberra in a fortnight so looking forward to that getting underway.

Spent time talking to a driver this morning in a section of industry that is at the peak of gear and effort, had his own, had some dealings with Police and RTA over the years, some good, some abysmal, treated so bad, got out of trucks for awhile, but finally came back. Even with the best gear, job and boss, he said, “Why would you come into this industry?” I can clearly understand his sentiments, yes he had many good years, but the treatment by some has not just taken the gloss off, it has lost yet another good driver top the industry by simply overzealous treatment by the bad few on the other side.

Also had a discussion with another steering committee member who I had not met, we have many of the same ideals and hopes and are both, like I believe all on the committee will be, looking forward to seeing change.

This funding is over ten years, it is linked to the HVSI through the NHVR and how that will work will be one of the many questions we will be asking at the start. The problem has been there and growing worse for years with more losses than gains, spots closed for “road safety” as seen by someone who does not need somewhere decent to sleep and rest. We have a lot to catch up on, so we will not fix it in a year or even three, but we will be working on it. As all of you should have seen by now, there are five drivers, plus myself, Glen still holds a wheel, so 7 plus the association people who may well bring some background support and information.

We have never been asked or included, we have been asked to contribute, but without real intent to listen many times and I truly hope this is a start, not just a single occurrence. Glen will push that as will we all, but as the largest and biggest single users of the roads, yes, there are more cars, but we spend more time, cover more distance and more often, more of the country than others, it is our lives on the roads.

Can we see real change, will the HVNL review actually deliver anything of value for the time and money spent, that is yet to be answered, we can only hope. Time for some more writing and then bed. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.