What a rollercoaster ride of emotions for truckies’ campaigner Wes Walker.
On Saturday he turned up to the Gatton hook-ups thinking 14 months of tireless campaigning had paid off with the sudden arrival of two portable toilets on site.
Earlier today he’d even started cleaning the loos at his own expense.
But by this afternoon the celebrations came to a dispiriting end with the arrival of a ute from Toowoomba-based hire company Quipco driven by operations manager Troy Goodwin.
Quipco had been told in no uncertain terms by the Department of Main Roads and Transport to promptly remove the toilets or the company faced a total fine of $56,000 – $28,000 for each unit.
Turns it it was an anonymous Queensland truckie who had paid Quipco to deliver them on site on the afternoon of Friday, August 5, and not TMR which had authorised their arrival.
“We are aware of portable toilets being placed at the Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility. They will be removed, as they were placed without our permission,” said a TMR spokesperson via email.
A gutted Walker told Big Rigs from the pads that he was totally “devastated” by the news.
“They wanted us to disclose who the hirer was and we refused to,” said Goodwin, who lives nearby and had committted to regularly servicing the toilets.
“I’m devastated too – I was all for it.
“There was no chance of spillage; they’re a self-contained unit. We can even transport them with waste in them.”
Added Walker: “What do we have to do to get permission? It was costing them (TMR) nothing.
“What do I have to do? I’ve tried hard and hard. Bless their hearts who did do it.
“People who carry this country are treated like second-class citizens. It has to stop.”