Truckies advocate still awaiting permanent toilet solution for Gatton pads

Almost every day of the week Queensland pensioner Wes Walker still pulls into the Gatton hook-ups in his trusty black Chevy Silverado to police the parking and chat to truckies.

He’s no longer cleaning the two popular portaloos on site that he campaigned so tirelessly to get due to the prohibitive costs.

But a year on since they arrived in August 2022, Walker still wants one question answered by Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey: Where’s the permanent solution he promised to investigate at the time?

In a statement last year, Transport Minister Mark Bailey told Big Rigs – and all the other media that picked up on our story – that he thanked Senator Glenn Sterle for his advocacy and vowed to work on providing something grander in terms of facilities for truckies on site.

“I’m committed to working with Senator Sterle, Transport and Main Roads and the heavy vehicle industry to find a permanent solution at the site, and have commenced discussions with my department on how best to do this,” Bailey told us.

When approached for a progress report this week, it seemed that the wind had gone out of Bailey’s sails. The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) was approached for comment but had not responded by our story deadline.

Walker is mystified as to why it all seems so hard for the state government. He’s aware of concerns around potential contamination to University of Queensland’s neighbouring agricultural fields, but isn’t buying that argument.

“The permanent solution is one massive portable one, not these part-time things,” Walker said.

Earlier research by Walker revealed that it would only cost $200,000 to have a larger unit delivered to the site, complete with a urinal, three toilets and a shower.

“They’re self-sufficient still, we just had to plug into power on the Gatton side of the bay for the hot water and lights.

“The ones we have at the moment have no lighting.”

Meanwhile, Walker is happy to report that the hygiene of the two portaloos is at least being maintained at a pleasing level by the local crew that services them three times a week.

“Everyone’s being very respectful of what they’ve got there, but we need to provide something better. There’s no reason why we can’t move forward to a bigger unit that has lighting at night, that’s the big thing.

“As we come into summer, sitting in a portaloo in the middle of a paddock ain’t going to be pleasant.”

Walker says he’d also like to see more “lines and signs” on site, to maximise the limited space.

At present, he’s seeing too many instances of haphazard parking and companies using the site as a makeshift depot.

“If they lined all down the back, they would gain parking because at the moment it’s Rafferty’s rules on how you park and where you park there.

“I’m sick of hearing that it’s too small. I can go through here and name the trailers that have been here for more than four days.

“We’ve got a B-double that goes in there on Thursday afternoon and if he hasn’t got a load Friday he’s there until Monday.”

Walker believes that Bailey and the Department of Transport and Main Roads have the opportunity to make Gatton a prime example of how to do it right for truckies right across the state, and beyond.

“If they put a 48-hour zone up and worked with me, I could ring them up and tell them that this trailer has been here three days, give them the rego number, then they could send an email to that company – move it or lose it.

“They could set an example for the rest of Australia with my help, and they’d end up getting praised for it.”

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