Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) and its members have raised concerns that new measures requiring workers to have a Covid test every three days if they leave the Fairfield area will financially impact local truckies and disrupt vital supply chains.
CEO Simon O’Hara said RFNSW fully supports the NSW Government’s efforts in controlling the latest outbreak across Sydney, but is calling for a better explanation on how the mandated testing will work for truckies, delivering food, groceries and other essentials during the pandemic.
“Truckies in south-west and western Sydney are understandably very anxious that they will lose hours and precious income if they have to queue in Covid testing centres every three days,” O’Hara said.
“Pulling drivers off the road for any length of time will quickly deplete the local workforce, disrupt supply chains and only result in added costs to goods and services.
“The transport industry has been on the frontline throughout the pandemic, delivering essential food, groceries and medicines to depots and supermarkets across NSW, which is why it’s imperative that the Government ensures that truckies can continue their work and aren’t forced off the road.
“We’re calling on the government to engage and communicate with industry on the new orders and ensure that Covid testing centres are accessible and fully resourced, so that truckies aren’t forced to wait around every three days for testing and results.
“This latest outbreak again demonstrates why transport workers must have prioritised access to the vaccine roll-out, so they are protected and can keep working, minimising disruptions to the delivery of essential food, groceries and medicines.”
The new health order for essential workers was due to come into effect today, July 14, but after feedback from various business groups, Health Minister Brad Hazzard pushed back the introduction of the tough new law until Saturday, July 17.
Workers who cannot show their bosses evidence of a test will not be allowed to start thier shifts, according to the new health orders.
O’Hara said RFNSW has also been angered by feedback from truckies who have been banned from using service station toilets and rest-areas during the latest Covid outbreak and has vowed to ‘name and shame’ any business or individual who tries to deny drivers their usual access to facilities.
“Our truckies deserve basic decency and respect while they perform their essential service for our community during these tough times.
“It is important that we all reflect that we are able to continue to work from home and have food and groceries on the supermarket shelves because of truckies working through a pandemic.”