Renewed calls for abattoir road train curfews to be lifted

The current system for road trains accessing abattoirs in Rockhampton and Townsville has been labelled as inefficient, as peak livestock bodies renew their push for curfews to be lifted.

The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland (LRTAQ) says there is currently a curfew of 7am to 7pm on Type 1 road trains accessing the Teys Australia and JBS Australia abattoirs in Rockhampton, while in Townsville, roads trains cannot access the JBS Australia abattoir between the hours of 7am and 9.30am, and 2.30pm and 7pm.

“To travel direct to the abattoirs, road trains also operate under annual permits issued by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and administered by the Transport and Main Roads Department,” LRTAQ explained.

“During the day, road trains enroute to the Rockhampton abattoirs have to split up the trailers at the CQLX Gracemere saleyards while the trucks heading into Townsville have to uncouple their trailers at Stuart or the Townsville Port pads.”

Australian Livestock & Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) vice president Athol Carter is calling for Type 1 Road Trains to have access to the abattoirs in Rockhampton and Townsville 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

He says it’s clear that the current curfew regime on routes to these Rockhampton and Townsville abattoirs is inefficient; adding it leads to a loss of the productivity gains that can be achieved when using high productivity vehicles and road train combinations.

Carter said the number one concern was about driver safety and animal welfare; as trailers are being left unattended during the day and then those cattle are cross-loaded without any facilities at Gracemere. Drivers are then having to do two to three trips to town depending on the configuration.

He added that lifting these curfews would help unlock productivity benefits for the industry.

LRTAQ has been lobbying to allow B-triple access through Rockhampton since Bryson Mayne was killed in August 2014 while de-coupling a road train at Gracemere.

While access to road trains along sections of the Bruce Highway has been permitted, hours of access are restricted during peak periods when high traffic volumes occur.

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