Western Australia has joined Victoria and South Australia in bringing in mandatory vaccination orders for truckies.
From October 24, truck drivers entering WA from “high and extreme risk states” (currently NSW and Victoria) must have had one jab, or produce evidence of being vaccine ineligible or exempt.
The second dose must be completed by December 24, 2021.
Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny, who had been in discussions with the state government about the jab order for the last two months, expects there may be some ‘fallout’ from the industry as a result.
But for him, the biggest issue remains the need to fast-track the PCR testing result regime at the state borders.
At present, with a three-day lag in drivers receiving PCR results, they can be 3000km down the road before knowing their status, as the state has seen in recent days with a NSW driver testing positive and causing an AFL Grand Final ‘scare’.
“We’ve got to get this fixed up. The feds have got to put their hand in their pocket and pay for two round-the clock testing centres, at Port August and somewhere in the NT,” said Dumesny.
“Where drivers can get tested and go on their way but know they’re going to get test results sent to them within two to three hours, and they’re only a couple of hundred kilometres up the road.
“Do that and you protect all of WA, the NT and the western half of South Australia; 60 per cent of the country is pretty much covered by just two 24-hour testing points.
Dumesny also called for more incentives for companies who are doing the right thing by doing trailer exchanges at the borders.
“There’s got to be some incentives to reward those companies because it costs more.
“We’re a practical industry, so let’s make some practical solutions.”
Apart from a few supply issues, Dumesny said rapid antigen testing is also a welcomed safeguard. Truck drivers entering Western Australia from high or extreme-risk states are required to submit to rapid antigen testing unless they have returned a negative test result in the prior three days.
Dumesny also applaused those companies who had brought in their own rapid antigen testing regime into the workplace so they could test drivers before they headed west.
“I think that’s a great idea and and all credit to them.
“There’s a lot of good things being done by the industry, but we’re not getting a lot of credit for it.
“It’s time for state and federal governments to start doing media campaigns to thank the transport industry for what it’s done.”