They broke the mould when they elected high-profile truckie Rod Hannifey to the role of president of the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA).
He’s just published a video on his Facebook page making an impassioned plea for truckies to take up a trucking association membership for a minimum of one year.
But it doesn’t even have to be to the NRFA, says Hannifey, a revered interstate driver for Ron Pilon Transport and passionate rest area advocate. It can be to any of your choosing, as long as you also commit to putting the association’s six-point plan below on the agenda.
- We’re happy to do our part and be tested every seven days, nothing less is necessary or fair on us, unless you provide numerous 24/7 testing centres with truck access. Such sites must include vaccinations. Trying to keep working, get tested every three days and still have to book and queue weeks in advance and lose more time/pay to get vaccinated is not only unjust, but unworkable for some. To ensure we can comply and get priority for vaccinations, get test results back in time to cross borders, the road transport industry must be recognised as essential.
- We will apply for and carry a National Freight Permit if required, valid in every state and territory, for a minimum period of 14 days. All states must agree. There should be no rule or border changes without industry consultation and without less than two weeks’ notice.
- Truck stops must be allowed to operate, we must have access to toilets, showers and facilities if you want us to continue carrying your needs and not get sick or tired trying to comply with multitudes of different rules. No facility should refuse us access to a toilet, we will happily wipe down a seat before and after use. If they fail to provide us with such facilities (as they must do under law for their staff) they should be fined. We too need toilets.
- There must be a moratorium on non-road safety related logbook fines. We are not lawless or above the law, but any fines issued by police under the HVNL, must be reviewed by NHVR before they will be actioned. We do hope the HVNL review will affect some of these concerns, but it will not be resolved for many months. We cannot continue being fined for clerical and minor time errors. The cost to the community of us fighting such onerous fines for little more than a mistake, is not only a waste of taxpayer’s money, it is not in any way, fair justice.
- We require a National Road Standard, the road should be accepted as our workplace, major crashes investigated and not simply the driver charged first and last. Roads and road repairs must meet that standard or be repaired to that standard within an agreed time frame.
- There must be a National Truck Rest Area Strategy to provide suitable and sufficient truck rest areas. This to improve our safety and that of other road users. To improve our ability to get good quality sleep as and when needed. In relation to drivers and sleep, there must be consultation on reasonable size sleeper berths. Not more freight, but better places to live and sleep in when on the road.
“We are losing people because of what’s going on,” said Hannifey.
“No one will come into this industry the way things are at moment, and what will happen when there aren’t enough truck drivers?
“We have to do something, and we have to do it structured. I can’t do it alone and you can’t either.
“Blokes are walking away, and we can’t afford that.”
Hannifey says that less than five per cent of all drivers are members of associations, and the peak bodies need their support if they are to effect lasting change.
“I’m not asking for lot of money, or effort, but I certainly don’t want you to join and do nothing. Join and ask your association to back the six-point plan, if you agree with it. If you’ve got a better solution, by all means let me know.
“I’ve done this for 20 years. I’ve just committed to a new truck, and I’ll do it for another five and I’m 64 now so I think I’ve made an effort.
“I’m not asking too much of you.”