29th October 2022, BACK to WORK.

Goodaye all, thanks to all who commented and responded to my last blog. A few have called up on the road as well and I do appreciate your support.

Well first week back at work, an early return, but I had pushed my exercises etc and have things in place with work for a sensible plan to get me back on the road. Being my left shoulder will help. It was not a simple return, I know you will all be shocked that it did not happen as planned. Suffice to say things delayed my actually driving out the gate, till nearly 8pm after getting out to work early that day.

The truck was due for service, it had not been fueled or washed etc due to some extra factors and by the time I left, I simply had to get going to have any chance of getting unloaded on the way down and then getting loaded the next afternoon in Melbourne. The Newell was open to trucks south of Forbes and just for fun, let’s poke that bear. After the second last major floods, there was a plan supposedly put in place to floodproof the Newell, or as best as possible. Then there was the last floods and they said, bugger, this flood is different and we will have to relook at what we were going to do again, before we do anything at all.

Now had they simply started on the perhaps 8 areas and culverts that cop most of the water and so then flood and or fail, so at least doing one a year, then we would have had maybe the four worst ones improved for now, if not fixed for the next 50 years. But no, we are still all thinking and planning and the transport industry and its’ customers have been failed again by those who do not have to drive through the failures when it is open, or go hours out of their way each time it is closed and not just for a day, but weeks on end.

This is a major transport route, it should be part of both a national highway network that must be improved and made not only safe for all who use it, but recognised as a major transport corridor. I think we have gone backwards since the Feds gave the responsibility for such roads to the states. Many transport companies are now avoiding the Newell if they can (and I would welcome comments and or actual change of use issues) and going through Sydney.

This is only putting much more pressure on the lack of truck bays on the Pacific Highway, which after having millions spent making it is a much better road, perhaps one of the best and better than the Hume as it is now, but without a changeover site for those needing it. I asked, when the road was being built, but here we are again chasing our tails and begging for facilities that should have been included during the build, not still being pursued years after it is done.

Why wasn’t the industry properly consulted and the Gatton roadtrain pads completed before the Toowoomba bypass? Why are we not included in discussions and consultations about things that affect us directly and then those who make the decisions, not even a bit. This must change!

So it has been a flat out return and here I am in sunny Mackay, finally able to sweep out the floor and start to get the truck back to where it was. There is still some more to do and I had hoped to be home to do some this first week-end back, but if all goes to plan, I will be back up here next week-end to be able to speak at a transport industry forum (but missed the one in Dubbo Friday) in Mackay next Wednesday. We will see. Depending on the weather and things, I may even talk to you all tomorrow. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


23rd October 2022

Goodaye all, it has been a while I know and there are some good reasons for that and there are then others that simply added weight and pressure. After twenty years of effort, much of which few of you will care about and even fewer would even be aware of or even recognise, I thought I was so close to getting the last TIV sorted and on the road. Yes after much delay, some of it mine, some due to covid etc, we got the truck on the road and thanks to all who supported, contributed and helped.

Then I did my second, left this time, shoulder and bicep. Again I was told if I was retiring next year, maybe let it go, but with the new truck and my commitment to another five years, if I wanted to be able to lift my arm above my shoulder, I had to get it done. Got surgery, home, tidied some things and started on the 3M clear coat on the tanks, having done the bullbar myself and wish I could have had it all done before it hit the road, but such is life they say.

Then some things changed and I will have to mull that over some more before I if ever, talk about it here. Suffice to say I have pushed really hard with the exercises, doing treble what I was supposed to, have started the minimal weight training early and will return to work tomorrow with the truck and 50 year RPT trailers. They had new curtains, gate skates and with the truck being an auto and with the fold out stairs, my surgeon, physio and doctor had all agreed I can get back to it a bit earlier than some have.

Now to those who think I have been home watching tv, (yes I did a bit) but did the garden again like last time and went to Canberra as reported previously. I have spent time on the phone and emails etc, plus then to Melbourne at the invitation of Senator Carol Brown, the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport to attend a discussion on the National Road Safety Strategy. As with the Canberra meeting I was the only driver and passionately put forward our concerns. I submitted a written list and then spoke to that list in the meeting.

I managed to meet up with two of the Women in Trucking Australia ladies the morning of the meeting and was able to also arrange an invite for Julie Downey to attend the meeting that day and at very short notice and with her very personal involvement in the information she supplied, detailed how the seatbelts in trucks and even the crash tests and dummies used, do not recognise the female population at all. It had never occurred to me how such could even happen, let alone be allowed, but Julie detailed the inconsistencies and failings of the current testing and fitting of seatbelts, specifically in trucks, that do not recognise women’s frame and body.

I raised some issues that had not been previously included at such forums, the NHVR gentleman beside me backed me up on the rest areas issue and others did have some recognition of some trucking issues, but most agreed with my comments that we are not treated fairly in the media, that we are not recognised for the lives we save, yet castigated and found guilty for any lives we take, initially whether we are responsible or not! Julie from TWiA told of a female truckie involved with a pedestrian suicide when she was driving, that was treated so badly by authorities, she is in a mental institution!

I also attended a Rural Road Safety Day at Lowes Petroleum in Dubbo for a sausage sizzle and spoke there with the Mayor about roads and ringroads etc. Another fellow I spoke with is due to retire soon and having done stock much of his life, though it has given him and his family all they have now, had done his shoulder, could not take the time off as an owner driver to get it fixed and now can barely lift it to his shoulder height, but can’t lift any weight with it at all. He was not happy many things have not been fixed, but says not only are those issues all still relevant, but shock, COR has not got to some cockies either and many still expect things above what is legal. It is now changing as older blokes leave and some won’t simply just do what they are asked or told to get the work and the lessening numbers mean there will be more change. But funny how it is not discussed or seen much and while I hope one day COR will actually work, till now it has been a marvellous theory with little bite above driver level and much talk. Let’s hope it works soon. 

I have again chased the NT authorities about green reflectors, chased SA to see where they are at, but believe they have done a lot of work marking sites and I thank them for that. A complete list of possible sites for the wire rope overlaps for the Hume in Victoria was sent in and time to chase that again now.

I have been invited to discuss further highway and rest area future works with Transport for NSW, told them I will be chasing a changeover site on the Pacific, (yes another broken record I know) and toilets and improved truck parking, along with a ringroad for Dubbo. It seems I will possibly miss the Regional Freight Forum meeting in Dubbo next Friday to discuss road safety etc, but the flooding may see that moved back?

I aim to attend a Queensland Heavy Vehicle Safety Forum in November and once back on the road, get the new trailers for next year sorted and back into it. Last week-end I was able to travel to Lithgow for the Australian Caravan Club Muster and spoke there for 90 minutes giving a presentation that discussed trucks, the industry, rest areas and included the excellent WhitelineTv videos. And on Friday, knowing the Newell was closed north of Narrabri, checked live traffic as I went in theory on my way to the CMCA rally at Bingara, where I was to do a similar presentation.

But there had been torrential rain which then meant the road to Bingara was also closed, though still open on live traffic when I turned around at Narrabri and after ringing and apologising that I had kept coming and certainly tried, I would not be able to attend.

So to all of you who have offered a comment or support, to those who have given me a call and to those who still want it all fixed, I have two questions. What are you doing to see it changed and have you joined an association? I don’t care if you join the union, because you work local, you join the Victorian, Queensland or other Trucking Association because that is where you live, but doing it on your own is hard work, hard on family and very frustrating. If you join an association, then be involved, nit just a number. You don’t have to give over your whole life, just do more than those who sit and complain nothing gets fixed. The NRFA is another alternative if you want to see change.

Yes the roads are terrible, yes the HVNL review is already outdated and not even complete, but no one outside of us who live on the road really care about us. I have tried, I will accept I have failed at some things and maybe could have done more, but I have not given up and will do another 5 years. You can help or you can sit back and whinge. I can’t do it all on my own, but I am still trying. What are you doing? I look forward to catching up with many, stay safe and give me a call. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


13th September 2022

Goodaye all, sorry for the gap, there is often very little spare time and whilst I have kept busy, I have spent some time chilling, watching a bit of tv and trying to very slowly, complete the last of the excellent Robin Hobb Assassins Apprentice series. I am onto the last book, number 9 and am filling gaps, but don’t want it to finish. I very much enjoyed the Rangers Apprentice, even more as it was written by an Australian to get his boys to read, but this is even better.

The meeting with Minister Burke in Canberra was preceded by an informal meeting with Minister Kings Transport advisor in the lobby. He has come back to Aus from a stint in Canada and we spoke of his time there and the need for more driver involvement. I have offered him a trip when back on the road. The meeting I was there for started at 3.30 and there was a wide range of industry, union, associations, suppliers, transport, retailers and also the gig economy was represented.

Minister Tony Burke opened with an overview and thanked the industry for its efforts during covid. His advisors then offered an outline and then Glen Sterle gave a passionate lead in to the discussions.

Each attendee was given a chance for comment, including my self, but in one way, being one of the last, meant I could take notes and not only fill gaps, but then be suer I could cover what others had missed or not considered. This meeting was to pursue and then hopefully see enacted, the first two recommendations for the Senate inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry. It was then to report or contribute to the skill and employment meetings held in Canberra that week.

Had I not been on workers comp and still attended, I would have been the only person not being paid to attend and the only full time driver, out of the 30 or so attendees. There were some via zoom, academics including Professor Michael Quinlan who was the chair of the “Beyond the Midnight Oil” inquiry. I spoke of contributing to many such things, my role and the importance of having drivers involved. I did state I recognize the good intent of all, unions and associations, but again pushed that none of them, or those attending, live fulltime on the road and so do not live the life and fully understand the ramifications of it.

I was told I had delivered a passionate and powerful message by the Minister and all were informed this meeting would see results. It was specifically stated, it was not a matter of if anything would be done, it will and the only issue was when! I do believe it was worth the effort to drive down and have a say, it was my last day with the sling on and I wore it there not just to protect the shoulder, but to hopefully lessen the chance of being bumped or patted on the sore one. I did attend (and have two lemonades) at the dinner held by the TWU after the meeting finished at 5, but left at 9. It was agreed by all, and many from the Ministers meeting did attend, that it had been a long road covering many years, that the job was certainly not done or complete, but it was a good start and the intent to finally have an industry body to contribute and be a part of industry change. It is a good start and will only work if all keep pushing.  

I had planned to stay in Canberra for the night, but had physio the next day and so headed home and ended up doing my spot on Nightshift at Wellington, before getting home and to bed in the rain.

I have some jobs still to do on the truck, am chasing some suppliers about bits and pieces and hope to have it all done, (with just the rear taillights to be fitted when I can get it to Brisbane) and then the cupboards. Once I have a date for return and the 50 year trailers are complete, it will be back into it for another 4 or 5 years, with new trailers due next year. I will have to reengage with many who were willing to supply parts and photos and support for the trailers, it has taken longer than I hoped, but many have commented on the look of the truck and with its dedicated trailers, it will look the part and do the job. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


7th August 2022 a new left hand shoulder for my birthday.

Goodaye all, well home with the new shoulder, but the surgeon said the tendons reattached itself and while it was further down than he would have liked, it would have been silly to cut and then reattach again. Shoulder was said to be a big tear, not as much meat as he would have liked to secure to, but believes it will work and keep me going for a few more years if I do the correct rehab and don’t do anything silly. Pain is ok unless I move the wrong way and the biggest problem is as it was before, trying to sleep wearing a sling and after surgery.

Hope to do a few tidy up jobs on the truck and to finish some lights, then return with the Rod Pilon Transport 50 year trailers all done and looking the goods till new trailers in the new year. Will stay short and sweet, keep safe on the road and talk soon. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


31st July 2022 now for left shoulder surgery.

Goodaye all. I had a couple of things planned for this week, last minute found they were having a K220 Kenworth launch night in Dubbo, would have been good to have a look and was then to be in Canberra for a convoy Saturday and then dinner, but Thursday night headed to St George to unload. That was OK, all open and ready by the time they opened up, had another plan to fix some green reflector sites with time to spare on my way home and the rest would fall into place.

But when unloaded got a call, come into Brisbane to load. Now looking at distance and time and the need for a DG registered trailer, thought MMMM, this will be tight. Made it with a few minutes to change trailers at the yard and go and load bulk DG before they went home for the week-end. It must be nice to work normal hours and be able to plan a life and stuff. Back to the yard, play trailer musicals, drop loaded one, hook up my A trailer, drop the B I had brought in and then hook up the loaded one again. Ready to leave Brisbane with already 8 hours in my book, so off to Fisher Park for tea.

The TIK Tok video “safetravelling, TRUCKSTOPS AND LIVING ON THE ROAD” has obviously hit a note with some, many remembering the times back when you looked for trucks parked and that was where you got a good feed on the road. It must be hard for truckstops, we struggled during covid when the authorities initially closed them down, then we complained and they reopened them, only to have some police threaten them with big fines. Glen Sterle had far more weight than a single truckie and got some saneness back into play, but it should not have been that hard to recognise, that truckies need good food, as well as decent rest areas for good sleep, let alone access to toilets etc to survive and stay fit on the road to deliver everything to everyone.

Truckstops struggled like many businesses which lost much of their trade and like so many now, are finding it hard to get enough good and competent staff to service their customers, us and others. The few that still look after us, like Fisher Park at the top of the Gap where I did the video, are getting rarer and those that have to reduce hours or such, can then find we look elsewhere. What is the solution?

I am off to get surgery on my left shoulder this week, then 5 weeks in a sling and start physio and hopefully back to work in 10 weeks or less. May be a bit slower, but keen to get truck and trailers sorted and get to some shows. New trailers now hopefully sorted for the new year, then four more years of trying to see change and safer roads for all in my spare time. I will be continuing most of my other activities, blog, radio, column etc and hope to see you all soon. Safe travelling, Rod Hannifey.  


24th July 2022

Goodaye all, back to a semblance of a normal week, just two trips to Brisbane and leaving again today, for up there tomorrow. Got my medical done last Monday morning with some discussion on time and an eye report, but have that booked for next week to complete and then have handed in, in time for the due date. Got held over in Brisbane Tuesday and ended up doing a delivery to a produce store, then the second trip up, better timing but another delivery down to Beaudesert.

Will have my old trailers on later today, they are showing a bit of age but the whole unit still does its’ job of promoting the road transport industry and road safety and I now have some certainty of a new set of trailers in the new year that will match the new truck and then I will have maybe four more years to push that barrow.

But next Tuesday I will be in surgery now for my left shoulder. Had the right done last year and that went well, but have again completely torn the tendon (so no real pain and have “Popeye” syndrome on both arms now) and damaged the shoulder and was told the same, yes I may get away with it for a year or two, but there is a chance I may then not be able to lift my arm above my shoulder and if I want to keep working for another four or five years, it should be done.

So off to Sydney Monday, home on my birthday with a fixed shoulder, then 5 weeks in a sling, then physio and hopefully, with an auto, Kenworths fold out cab steps, my RPT 50 years rear trailer finally done with gate skates and new curtains, back to work even if gently, sometime soon after that. While I am off the truck will have the finishing touches that we have not had time to do, completed, a service and will be ready to go and with the smick trailers, keen to get to some events and of course, work on the design and set up of the new trailers too.

Will still be doing all the other stuff and for those of you who listen to the spot on Triple M Tuesday morning, the CEO of the NHVR, Sal Petrocitto will be on and answering questions for the first hour this week. I hope to have some others join in at times and we will see how this goes. Got to finish a small job on the truck etc, so till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


14th July 2022 NRFA Conference and TIV K200 hits 100,000

Goodaye all. A mid-week post to catch up, simply have been flat out running to keep up. Out Sunday over a week ago to load, a couple of issues with a DC timeslot Monday in Melbourne, then nowhere to camp, typical to many. Had a kip and then out of Melbourne for Brisbane, in Wednesday, load one trailer ready to run out to Toowoomba, load another Thursday for another driver and load, then out to Toowoomba that night as truck booked in for 100,000 service there for Friday. Did a local radio interview early Friday morning, to the bank to sort an association change-over of signatories etc, lunch and back to wait for the truck. Full day, but then not told it was ready, not clean and off to our informal dinner for NRFA Board and guests before the conference.

Had to leave at 8.30 PM whilst most others having a beer or two, to take another trailer to Brisbane and pick up my other two for my b-triple to Mt Isa. Back after midnight, shower and bed by two and up at 6 for the conference. Thanks to all who made it happen, lots of work behind the scenes by a small crew and from where I sit, it went well, but I will let others decide that.

Dinner that night, awards given out to deserving industry people, had an auction and thanks to those who contributed, all will be listed on our NRFA page. Up early for our truckies breakfast, in one way our only failure. A Sunday morning at Charlton, it seems most had already left to get to their destinations, but we had 6 health checks done and I left at 11 AM and made it to my delivery point with about 5 minutes to spare the following afternoon a long way away.

Pressure off then, into Mt Isa Monday night and Tuesday some fun local deliveries, load and leave that afternoon, finally into Brisbane this morning and do a dog run, taking trailers out to then pick up my third and try and deliver a container, rang ahead, yes come, got there, we can’t unload that here now with the forks we have, so another hour or two wasted.

It has been a big few weeks in many ways, some k’s done, some green reflectors done, some small wins (yet to be seen but hopeful) with lights and other issues in Central Qld. Our conference done and of course, it alone did not fix the problems, we now have to continue all the behind the scenes work and effort to try and see some of those issues addressed, unless of course you will do it all for us? And then there is family that I have not seen much of, so no post this week-end as I hope to be home Saturday, but either out Sunday or a yearly medical to do Monday and then on the road again. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


2nd July 2022, NRFA Conference is coming next week-end in Toowoomba.

Goodaye all, home Friday afternoon, out Sunday lunch. A bit of time to catch up with the family. Even planned to go to the pictures, but busy for school hols in NSW, so hopefully next time, but that will be a few weeks away. Trying to refit some shelves in the sleeper gap till I get some cupboards in the future, the KW ones pretty expensive and hope I can end up with something more workable. Icepack Services Toowoomba doing some very well thought out, designed and fitted cupboards inside and also excellent work outside and they will be helping. Sick of stuff on the floor behind the seats, so will try this for the interim.

Next week-end is the NRFA Conference in Toowoomba, so off to Melbourne tomorrow, load for Brissie from there, plan to be in Wednesday, unload, load a flat top loaded and take to Toowoomba, then truck booked in for 100,000 service in Toowoomba Friday, down and pick up two loaded “A” trailers that night after dinner and then have to be in Cloncurry by Monday afternoon with the “B” triple. So off straight after our truckies breakfast at the BP Charlton Sunday 10th July 7AM till noon.

All are welcome to attend the conference at the Toowoomba Golf Club, no charge to attend, but we would certainly like you to let us know you will be attending. If you want to attend the dinner that night, with an auction, Yogi Kendall as guest speaker, you will need to purchase tickets and again, let us know if you want to attend so we can cover for catering and numbers. The truckies breakfast is free and we will have a special sponsored brekkie deal on the day, so come along, have a say or ask a question and sign up and join the NRFA.

I have to catch up with my audiobooks page, pack some clothes and sort some more things for next week, so will keep it short and ask you to consider attending the conference and hope you will and come and say Goodaye. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


25th June 2022 Away again, naturally.

Goodaye all, back to normal it seems, in Brisbane now having a 24 hour break before heading off to Mackay in the morning. Thought I was getting two days home before off to Isa again, planned to go to the movies with my eldest son, started work on my extra steps on the truck, then told, no sorry, plans changed and off to work that night.

Into Newcastle for a couple of drops, pick ups and then load, again to find some changes, leave a bit off and now have to go to Brisbane to add in an urgent tank, even had to put a boat on, so good for floods, but the little 4hp won’t pull the b-double out of too much water.

Up the Pacific in the daylight, something I haven’t done in a while and again, welcome the Stopping Bays, but after a good feed at Moorelands and then trying to get into Brissie to get my 24 hour break in and by dark and into Queensland, the lack of anywhere to stop on the Gold Coast motorway into Brissie, not a stopping bay or even a shoulder for nearly the whole length is a concern and is on the list to TMR.

So have had some time today to catch up, complain to Transport for NSW about losing some more truck bays, TMR about some sideroads on the Landsborough Highway to see if we can have them left there for trucks and emails, friend requests etc.

Much work on the phone with setting up stuff for our conference coming up in Toowoomba, looking good and with many saying they will come.

Having missed an important meeting re the HVNL review on Friday, where I had to work, funny that, I have just spent an hour reading, another doing a survey and another responding to the suggestions. I have added a comment that we as drivers are the ones most affected, both now and into the future, yet how can I be involved when I have to work? This must change.

So into the shower, then bed and on the road in the morning. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


19th June 2022 A weekend at home (or half at least)

Goodaye all, well half a week-end at home, the first for a while. Many drivers seem to be flat out, there are not enough people to do the work, whether it be mechanics, packers, drivers and even barristas. Heard there are currently 13,000 adds for them, I did not think we had that many!

So another trip north, this time as an ab-triple to a mine, then home to load cotton, unload cotton at another gin, then reload at yet another and back to Dubbo, a short visit home while the truck got a service (missed an “A” but back on track now) then Brisbane as a b-triple and home as a b-double. A fairly big week, nearly 5,500 ks, but some loading and unloading in there as well.

Many calls and time on the phone during the week with details and discussions re the NRFA Conference in Toowoomba on the 9th July at the Toowoomba Golf Club, a dinner that night with speaker and auction, then a Truckies Breakfast at the BP Charlton on Sunday 10th. BP will offer a free coffee with breakfast and Haultech Engineering, who you may know as the makers of the excellent ICEPACK, have agreed to sponsor the breakfast, so you should get a cheap brekkie, full details yet to be confirmed.

We will have a couple of speakers in the Saturday morning session, then a panel discussion with a wide group seeking to not only discuss issues, but to come up with some solutions to a few industry problems. We won’t solve them on the day, but we hope to be genuine and if all invited do attend, have those there who can make some decisions and hopefully then some headway.

So outside of a couple of jobs on the truck, I did look at “The Ice Road” movie as was fairly disappointed, stopped watching when it got too ridiculous, but will finish one day when nothing better to do. There have been few trucking movies that show us well, most want to highlight the bad, even Smokey and the Bandit, for the incredible success it was, showed a less than legal side. When “Prime Mover” was due to be filmed, they had an info session at the Dubbo Tourist building and I dropped in and offered my view and of course, wanted a spot for a truck promoting the industry and road safety. I was told that I would be the only one who watched it and they needed more.

For those of you who have seen it (and I did mange to be home to attend the premiere in Dubbo) it did not do the industry many favours. Yes it had a love story and a sort of truck love story too with the young bloke following his Dad, but it had a bad side and was a bit too contrived, for me at least.

So with Slim long gone, no good movies or much trucking music, we need someone new or if Jimmy Barnes will do another trucking song for us, maybe we will get heard somewhere else. Come on Jimmy, come for a trip and sing us a new song. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.