Volunteers campaign to save Queensland’s Driver Reviver sites

driver reviver

Volunteers who hand out free tea, coffee and biscuits at the Innisfail
Driver Reviver are campaigning to have the Queensland Government reverse the decision to close 23 such sites.

Spokesman for the Innisfail Driver Reviver is police liaison officer Michael Sands who is also a volunteer and has no doubt they save lives.

I travelled the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Cairns and also on various Atherton Tablelands roads and found the Innisfail site was the only one open.

This DR is situated at the intersection of the Bruce and Palmerston Highways
just outside Innisfail, and always has a supply of biscuits, tea, coffee, milk for fatigued motorists.

Most have operated for decades at various places beside major highways mainly during busy holiday periods to convince fatigued drivers to stop and rest.

Sands also co-ordinates the supply of biscuits and drinks for the Innisfail
DR and these are supplied free of charge by companies Shell, Bushels, Dairy Farmers, Arnotts and a Tweed Heads  sugar producer.

One of the reasons the government has given for the closures is that most of
the buildings are old and in need of demolition or repairs, some at great cost.

There are around 20 loyal volunteers at the Innisfail site including Sands
who has been one himself for eight years.

Michael Sands and Des Haren at the Innisfail site that the state government wants to close.

“This building survived Cyclones Larry and Winifred and this site has beenhere for 30 years. Many lives would have been saved from giving drivers a cuppa, and biscuits and that helps reduce the road toll,” Sands said.

With Sands at the site was 70-year-old Des Haren who said at least 100 people a day stopped there to get a free drink and a biscuit, use the nearby public toilets and sit on seats under a shaded area.

“We get many different people here from all over the place and often they come back  on the next trip,” he said.

Haren said many visitors took advantage of the site as they drove from north to south.

Some of the sites have restricted parking for trucks however at Innisfail there is ample space in the street behind it which backs onto a cane field.

Haren said that on December 16 the Innisfail site was the only one open between Townsville and Cairns.

I can confrim that having stopped at others which were closed including at Frances Creek near Ingham and Bilyana past Cardwell.

“All it costs the government is something for electricity. We’re all
volunteers and the biscuits, drinks, and cups are donated. This is a vital service which helps cut the road toll,” Haren said.

FOOTNOTE: Sands told Big Rigs that if the state government went ahead with
plans to close them, the Innisfail site had a good prospect of staying open.
Sands said that the organisers of the Victorian Driver Reviver program had offered help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend