Although frustrated that an official bid to have portable toilets at the new Gatton pads was knocked back this week, defiant campaigner Wes Walker isn’t taking the setback sitting down.
On his 16th day protesting the lack of basic facilities for the nation’s essential workers at the $18m decoupling facility, Walker, 57, has today trailered in two portable toilets donated by Lockyer Valley Waste Management on his ute.
Walker, who is on a disability pension due to a Parkinson’s disease-related tremor in his right hand, has also dipped into his own pocket with air fresheners and hand sanitisers to help make the His and Hers portaloos Covid-safe.
“I’m on the pension so I can’t afford to spend too much each fortnight but I’m doing what I can,” said Walker, a plasterer by trade.
Walker plans to be on site until late this afternoon and will return again early tomorrow with the toilets which will remain on the trailer the whole time.
“I don’t unhook them from my ute just in case one of those muppets come out,” he said.
So how long does he plan to keep this up?
“How long is a piece of string? You can’t give up when you start something positive.
“I’m giving back to society, I’m not a dole bludger. I’m just passionate about giving the truck drivers the facilities they deserve.”
The selfless act, however, does have a positive spin-off for Walker with the arrival of the portable toilets.
Up until today he’s had to go 10 hours each day without eating because he suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.
Meanwhile, WA Senator Glenn Sterle is also rallying behind Walker’s fight and this week written to Department of Transport and Main Roads director general Neil Scales urging him to intervene.
“I struggle to see how planning of this $18m facility failed to include toilet facilities,” Sterle asks.
“Heavy vehicle decoupling facilities are workplaces for our truck drivers.
“Now this might not seem like much to someone sitting in Fortitude Valley, but it means a hell of a lot to our essential truckies who rely on you to make sure these facilities are fit for purpose.”
The TMR has flatly refused to entertain the idea of toilets of any kind at the facility due to the University of Queensland objecting to the biosecurity risk of human waste or litter being left at the site, which may impact their adjoining agricultural research programs.
To sign Walker’s online petition to overturn the Gatton decision, click here.