Frustrated truckies call for parking time limit at busy Gatton pads


More often than not, veteran truckie Helen Kuhl will pull into the busy Gatton pads each fortnight and let out a sigh of frustration.

With no time limits on parking – or lines on the tarmac to denote where to park trailers or dollies – invariably there will be no space left to hook-up.

“There’re too many trailers being left there for too long, there’s no need for it,” said Kuhl, a road train driver carrying produce coast to coast for Blenners.

“They should have a time limit on trailers, otherwise they get towed away.”

Kuhl believes there’s no need for a trailer to be on site for any longer than 24 hours.

“I don’t care what anyone says, there’s got to be rules.”

Brigalow-based Kuhl is tired of seeing companies using Gatton as a depot.

“I’ve sat there with the dog on because there’s nowhere to drop it and nowhere to go until my dog runner has come out from Brisbane.”

Tipper truckie Wayne Rutherford said the pad is a “joke” and agreed with Kuhl that too many companies are using the pads as a makeshift depot.

“Clearly they didn’t talk to industry before they went ahead and did what they did because it is miles too small,” said Rutherford.

“They should have put an inbound and an outbound in on each side of the Warrego.”

If he is lucky enough to find room to unhook there before his time runs out, he also has to factor in the lack of basic facilities on site, aside from the two Portaloos.

“Portaloos, are you serious? There are no showers, so what do I do?

“I either stand under the water tank on my trailer, and hopefully it’s still warm from travelling all day, or I go to bed dirty.

“Illegal immigrants get treated better than truck drivers.”

Rutherford said he’s often been forced to leave the site, wasting valuable time, and unhook elsewhere when simple signage enroute would have alerted him to space issues.

“You travel to NSW, especially down the Hume, and it’ll tell you where there are spaces available and parking bays.”

Rutherford said time limits are “difficult” to get right, because of the variables involved, but said 48 hours would be more than reasonable for most scenarios.

“That highway is a major hub out of every state for ride train operations, and there’s more and more right train operations than there was before.

“They want to lessen the amount of tracks on the road then road train operation is a way to do it, so do the friggin’ thing properly.

“We pay enough money in taxes and fuel excise, registration to give us facilities.”

Truckies’ advocate Wes Walker, the tireless campaigner responsible for TMR finally consenting to having two portable toilets on site, agrees that too many companies are using the site as a trailer depot due to the lack of a time limit.

He’d also like to see more lines installed so drivers would know where to park their trailers.

“It’s not that it’s too small, it’s the way it’s being utilised,” said Walker.

“They don’t have to go and build more pads, they just have to make it more efficient, and that applies to sites right across Australia.”

A TMR spokesperson told Big Rigs it monitors the operation of the Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility (GHVDF) via CCTV.

“CCTV monitoring confirms self-regulated parking is operating as expected, with no need for additional line marking or enforcement measures,” the spokesperson said.

“There are normal peaks and troughs, and recent monitoring indicates the facility is operating at about 70 per cent capacity.

TMR said the layout was designed based on feedback from heavy vehicle operators, and initially built with 30 marked parking bays for trailers.

The facility was extended in August 2021 with an ancillary parking area on the southern side.

“We encourage users to show courtesy to others when using the GHVDF by not using the facility as a long-term trailer/dolly parking area.”

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