Fatigue management, News, Work diary

Campaigner says truckies are short-changed on busy Queensland freight route


Truckies’ campaigner Wes Walker has shifted his focus 145km north of the Gatton breakdown pads he’s so famous for to highlight what he believes is a glaring gap between investment in inspection areas versus truckies’ rest bays.

As Walker’s pictures show, the Queensland state government has spared little expense to build expansive and well-sealed heavy vehicle inspections sites, northbound and southbound, 3km north of Nanango on the Burnett Highway.

Yet the nearest dedicated sites for truckies to use to help them with their fatigue management appear to be in a much sorrier state.

To add more salt into the wounds, Walker said truckies are only allowed to park in the inspection areas for no longer than 30 minutes.

When he approached the Department of Transport and Main Roads for an explanation he said he was ignored, so he turned to local MP Deb Frecklington to help get the answers to his questions.

Walker asked:

  1. Are the gates permanently open on these parking bays and can truck drivers now park there at all times of the day?
  2. Why is the stopping time 30 minutes?
  3. Can the limit be extended to 1 hour?

“Although the gates are always open, the primary purpose of the area is for heavy vehicle inspections,” was the emailed response that Frecklington received from the regional director for TMR southern Queensland.

“Inspections may include drivers pulling over to check their cargo or other agencies setting the area up as a formal station to carry out weight checks and other approved inspections.  

“As a courtesy, the area is available to all motorists however the time limit is set to 30 minutes to discourage people from using the area as a rest area or stopping place.”

TMR only wants truckies to park at the inspection sites for no more than 30 minutes.

The regional director went on to say that there are two nearby “stopping places” that TMR would encourage Frecklington’s constituents to use:

·         Northbound: 7km north of this location

·         Southbound: 12km north of this location 

“In consideration of the above, TMR has no plans to change the time limit for stopping at the inspection area.”

Walker thanked Frecklington for following up, but was disappointed with the response, particularly given that the inspection sites are empty more often than not.

He also argued that the P30 restriction couldn’t be enforced, if the driver had to comply with their mandatory major rest break under the HVNL.

“They’re beautiful facilities that cannot be utilised when they don’t have their mobile scales there,” Walker said.

“If they’re not going to use it, why not let the truck drivers use it? And that sign means jack-shit – in a court of law you’d beat that sign hands down.”

The decrepit truckies’ southbound site is in a sorry state compared with the scalies’ station nearby.

Walker, recognised state-wide by truckies for his parking prowess at Gatton, said the inspection sites could easily accommodate up to eight B-doubles on each side of the highway.

But he said the southbound alternative suggested by TMR only fits one B-double, and the northbound option, with its narrow strip of crumbling pavement, isn’t much better

There is another option 35km north of Nanango, but Walker said it’s so dangerous because of poor visibility to oncoming traffic, it should be shut down.

Walker says this truck parking bay is so dangerous, it should be shut down.

“The federal funding to upgrade existing facilities has all stalled. So I’m out on my own to stick up for the rights of truck drivers and will go it alone if I have to.

“This is about the health and wellbeing of truck drivers and other road users.”

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