Peak NSW trucking bodies are lobbying hard for a compromise to the confusing new regional travel permit system now in play in the state.
Launched with little warning in the early hours of Saturday morning, the edict now requires workers travelling from Sydney to regional NSW to submit a list of all locations they will be travelling to over a 14-day period. Drivers will also need to apply for a new permit every 14 days.
In addition to requiring a permit issued by Service NSW, workers will also be required to carry additional ‘evidence to support the reason for [their] travel’ – a requirement which brings into question the purpose of the permits altogether.
TWU NSW/QLD state secretary Richard Olsen said that the permit system had clearly been designed without any consultation with transport workers or the industry more broadly.
“If Gladys Berejiklian could be bothered asking, any transport worker could tell her this permit system in its current form is a dud for the transport industry,” Olsen said.
“A truck driver can’t possibly be expected to list every single delivery they’re going to make 14 days in advance when applying for these permits.
“Truck drivers should be able to apply for an ongoing permit. Making them re-apply every 14 days just doesn’t make any sense when the very nature of their work involves travelling across the state.”
Road Freight NSW CEO Simon O’Hara, who was inundated with calls for help over the weekend from members trying to comply with the new orders, said he agrees with the union’s position.
“In its current format, this definitely needs work,” said O’Hara.
“It just doesn’t affect drivers; it affects companies, customers, everybody. We need certainty, and we need it to be workable certainty.
“It’s better that we use this as a guide rather than a $22,000 fine and/or potentially two years jail. That’s the problem.
“We’ve got companies that are really concerned about penalties and potential jail terms. It’s got to work.
“All our operators want to do is comply; there is no question about us saying, ‘we don’t want to do this’.
“It’s exactly the opposite. We want to do the right thing. Just make it easier.”
Big Rigs understands that there is still a grace period in force while operators get their heads around what the system means, but that is likely to be short-lived.
Meanwhile, the union said questions transport workers are demanding immediate answers to are:
- Which workers will require a permit? Is it every worker leaving Greater Sydney, or only those from LGAs of concern?
- When will applications open, and what documentation will workers need to submit as part of their application?
- Will transport workers need to apply for a separate permit every time they travel to regional NSW, or will they be able to receive an ongoing permit?
- Will interstate truck drivers require a permit if they are passing through regional NSW (including stopping for fuel etc), or will they only require a permit if their ultimate destination is in regional NSW?
“For the sake of our transport workers, and the regional communities who depend on the deliveries they make, the NSW Government needs to sort this mess out today,” Olsen added.
For more information on registering your travel and who must comply, click here.