Fears for truckies’ safety after port parking crackdown


A frustrated regional operator, whose fleet makes regular runs to Port Botany in Sydney, is calling for a relaxing of overly stringent parking rules in the busy precinct.

The issue reached a head for Paul McCallum, principal at Dubbo-based Inland Petroleum, earlier in February when one of his fuel tanker drivers pulled over temporarily on Simblist Road to change into overalls.

McCallum concedes it was in an area marked with no stopping signs, but there was ample clearance between the parked Kenworth and the traffic lane – as the pictures with this story clearly show – and dangerous goods (DG) vehicles are prohibited from parking in the truck marshalling zone.

The DG driver had left plenty of room for traffic to go past as he changed into his overalls.

According to an email sighted by Big Rigs, a manager from NSW Ports, which holds long term leases to manage Port Botany and Port Kembla, approached the truckie and told  him to move on.

But six days later McCallum also received a formal complaint from NSW Ports asking him to remind his drivers of their obligation to “comply with the road rules”, and to make sure the driver in question “must comply with a lawful direction.”

“It’s a situation that’s evolved at Port Botany over the last two months and I don’t think it’s one that many people are aware of,” said McCallum.

“I’ve started to get the regulatory authorities to look at it but I’m just not getting traction.

“Where are the drivers meant to put on their overalls? It raises the issue of Sydney as a whole, but Port Botany especially as a transport hub.”

McCallum understands that the state government gave the port authority money to build a rest area in the precinct but is yet to see, or hear about, any progress on that front.

The communications department at NSW Ports did not return Big Rigs request for comment.

“They crap on about chain of reponsibility, they carry on about having rests areas, well what better place to have a rest area for a truck than right where it’s going to load before it does a journey,” added McCallum.

“The facts are, the truck could go into the terminal and be held up for two hours because there’s a pump breakdown and then when they leave the terminal they might not have enough hours.

“If you look at the Sydney basin where can a DG vehicle pull up legally and have a rest break? There isn’t anywhere and the whole thing is being brushed under the carpet by the regulatory authorities but it’s a major issue.”

McCallum said he’s written to NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto and his local Dubbo member Dugald Saunders to no avail.

“I don’t get any reply – they just don’t want to know about it.”

Simon O’Hara, CEO of Road Freight NSW, said there’s been a clampdown across the board regarding port parking for truckies.

“The Port of Botany must step up for truckie welfare,” O’Hara said.

“Port Botany must be proactive and take positive steps to ensure that truckies get the rest they need and are required to take under legislation.

“I have had truckies from Wagga and Albury contact me about being woken up at Port Botany by security guards and asked to move on. This puts truckies under considerable stress and pressure.

“Truckies deserve dignity and respect and the NSW community deserves safe roads.”

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is calling for truckies’ help to increase the number and improve the quality of heavy vehicle rest stops across the state road network.

Feedback is open until February 23 and will be used to identify priority areas, inform future improvements to the quality and quantity of heavy vehicle rest areas.

Truckies can have their say via a survey or interactive map here.

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