Truckies’ watchdog Wes Walker was gobsmacked when Big Rigs told him the official response regarding the immediate fate of the trailers dumped at the Charlton pads near Toowoomba, Queensland.
Once the property of Emerald Refrigerated Logistics, which went into liquidation last year leaving a long list of creditors, the fridge vans have been left to gather rust for months, and hog valuable space that working fleets would otherwise be using.
Walker sent us these pictures for this story as proof but didn’t expect such a dismissive reply from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) when we asked why they were allowed to stay there for so long.
“We are aware of the trailers parked at the Charlton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility,” said a TMR spokesperson in an emailed statement.
“They are not impacting safety or accessibility and there is no time restriction for parking there.
“We will continue to monitor the trailers and take appropriate action, if required.”
Said Walker: “I can’t believe that. I’ve already had the boys whinge to me about them because it’s only a small site.
“They’re unregistered vans on public site for decoupling. If anyone runs into them who do they claim against? Or, if anyone is injured, who do they sue?
Walker says using these types of facilities as storage yards is not good enough, particularly when there was extra strain on this site due to the long-running closure of the Toowoomba Bypass.
Emerald Refrigerated Logistics director Melissa Armstrong did not respond to a request for comment.
According to a notice sent to creditors by the administrators last year, Emerald folded with a mountain of debt, including $5.2 million owing to the ATO.
The company, whose main contract was with Linfox, also owed $2.9 million in employee entitlements to its 50 staff, which included 29 drivers.
Walker says the dumped trailers are in such a state of disrepair he doubts they could be used to pay back any of Emerald’s many unsecured creditors.