Former chef and now owner-operator Peter ‘Barnsey’ Barnes said that the rise in fuel prices was “diabolical” for the industry.
“I did a return trip between Brisbane and Melbourne when the big price increase started and it cost me an extra $1000 for fuel. It is ridiculous, such a big increase.
“This is going to make the business unsustainable for many small owner-drivers,” Barnsey told Big Rigs.
I had first met Barnsey at the parking area behind the Golden Nugget Truck Stop at Gympie in early January.
He had parked up for a well-earned break.
His company is Barmond Investments and Barnsey has a Mack Triton and a Mack Super-Liner which were travelling in tandem.
“We are carrying bitumen from Brisbane to Gympie,” Barnsey said.
Barnsey rates the Innamincka to Moomba Highway in South Australia and the 45-minute drive from Moonie to Westmar in Queensland as the worst roads he gets along.
“They are both very rough and need lots of work,” he said.
The first truck Barnsey drove was about 40 years ago and was an old Bedford sprayer which he has fond memories of.
Having been a chef, Barnes is well qualified to speak about which roadhouses serve up good food at reasonable prices.
“The Golden Nugget here in Gympie and the Little Topar in New South Wales both have good meals.
“I started my apprenticeship when I was aged 14 in Mackay at the Gold Creek Motel and was a chef for eight years,” he said.
However, Barnsey did qualify the roadhouse statement by saying he often cooked his own meals when away on a gas cooker he keeps in his truck.
“We also have a microwave and small fridge on the trucks,” he said.
Barnsey had a New Year’s Resolution which he hoped could be achieved and maintained throughout 2022 and beyond.
“I want to give up smoking,” he said.
However, when we spoke on the phone a few weeks later he had not been able to keep that resolution.
During the recent floods, Barnsey was forced to stay at home for several days because of cut roads.
“It was good to spend some time at home as I don’t often get to do that,” he said.
On the front of his Mack is the name Jaymie-Louise and I asked Barnsey the reason why.
“That was the name of my much-loved daughter Jaymie-Louise who passed away in an accident.
“So I named the old girl after her,” he said emotionally.