State authorities are promising truckies a new rest area in western Sydney – and want their direct input on where it should go and what facilities it needs.
NSW Roads Minister John Graham said drivers have told him that Sydney is the least friendly city for truckies on the east coast and the state government is determined to change that.
“We are committed to providing a new heavy vehicle rest area in Sydney for truckies travelling the two-hours between Pheasants Nest and Wyong,” Graham said.
“Truckies are the backbone of our economy; we all rely on our goods getting to us in a timely, efficient, and safe manner.
“Current arrangements are simply not good enough for drivers, and we are working with the industry to do better.”
He acknowledged that there are currently “very limited” rest areas that are fit for purpose for truckies between Pheasants Nest to the south of Sydney and Wyong to the north, a distance of 180km and two hours of driving.
Graham said options to change that are being considered across six local government areas: Blacktown City, Penrith City, Fairfield City, Liverpool City, Camden and Campbelltown City.
But Transport for NSW (TfNSW) also wants to hear what truckies think about the best location and what they need on site.
Graham said TfNSW will be engaging with the road freight industry and heavy vehicle drivers, including the potential location, services and facilities, as well as consideration of oversize and dangerous goods requirements.
Heavy vehicle drivers and the road freight industry are invited to participate in an online survey to provide their insights and advice.
To have your say, click here. Consultation is open until Sunday, October 1.
“The western Sydney area needs more parking facilities so our truckies can rest, stage their longer journeys, or if they are early for their timeslot and simply need a place to park,” Graham added.
The rest area announcement comes as a parliamentary inquiry has commenced into the pressures on heavy vehicle drivers, triggered by the recent spate of over-height incidents in the city.
The first-time probe will consider how these pressures impact on the use of rest areas and other fatigue management practices.
Inquiry committee member Dr Sarah Kaine MLC, believes this is a critical issue as freight volumes are expected to rise 56 per cent by 2061 in Greater Sydney alone.
“There has been decades long research into the relationship between pay and conditions and wellbeing of heavy vehicle drivers and mortality rates, for not just heavy vehicle drivers but also other road users,” she said.
“Understanding the pressures on heavy vehicle drivers in New South Wales is a step in the right direction to decreasing the fatalities in this industry, and our community.”
This year alone there have been 28 fatal vehicle crashes resulting in 40 fatalities in NSW.
“A large body of established research shows the well-being and pay and conditions of truck drivers is intimately linked to safe driving and reducing fatalities on our roads – providing adequate rest areas has an important part to play in the well-being of drivers.
“Western Sydney is the perfect spot to service the industry due to its proximity to major freight routes across Sydney, connecting the north-south, east-west axis between ports and where freight needs to go.”
To make a submission to the parliamentary inquiry, click here. Submissions close on Monday, September 18.