After two years of fighting for truckies’ rights at the Gatton hook-ups, Wes Walker is reluctantly pulling the pin this week.
The disability pensioner said he simply can’t afford the cost of the fuel required to keep up his daily cleaning regime of the two portaloos that he campaigned so tirelessly to get.
“It is sad news for the truck drivers,” said Walker who now fears the toilets will be removed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
“I don’t want to let the good truck drivers down, but I’ve got to look at this financially. I don’t want this to be the end but I can’t keep doing it.
“It’s costing me about $100 a week to drive out there and back.”
Aside from the GoFundMe campaign organised by Big Rigs and few donations from truckies, Walker says he hasn’t had a scrap of financial support.
The only transport company he wanted to thank was Lindsay Transport which juggled delivery schedules so a female truckie could appear alongside him in the story that A Current Affair broadcast at the beginning of his long fight for basic facilities in 2021.
“I’m not disappointed, I’m devastated,” an emotional Walker added. “They’ve got no one fighting for them these poor drivers, and companies don’t really give a shit about them unless those wheels are going round and round.”
Walker says he’ll never forget the day a tearful female truckie for Don Watson Transport ran up to him and gave him a hug soon after the two portable toilets arrived in August.
“She was so happy that she didn’t have to squat in front of other people. That made me tear up.
“I don’t deserve that – it’s the drivers that deserve to be looked after.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey told Big Rigs in August that he was committed to finding a permanent toilet solution at the site.
Bailey added that designs for any future toilet facilities at the site will need to take a number of factors into consideration, including the proximity of the area to the University of Queensland Agricultural Research Station.