The Victorian Transport Association has slammed the activities of three New South Wales furniture removalists, whose “irresponsible flouting” of cross-border restrictions has resulted in new Covid outbreak in Victoria, and a further five-day lockdown for Melbourne.
As a result of new cases in Melbourne, the Victorian Government has taken steps to limit any further spread by re-introducing restrictions on movement in the community, as well as specific new requirements for freight and logistics workers operating across borders.
Effective immediately, transport workers travelling into Victoria from red zones will be required to get a Covid test every three days (instead of every seven) and always carry evidence with them of a current negative test result.
In addition to also carrying a valid permit for entering Victoria, drivers must also carry a letter from their employer, supervisor and/or customer confirming they are interstate linehaul drivers carrying out essential transport work.
“In introducing these new restrictions, the government has made an important distinction between freight drivers who by and large have been doing the right thing during the pandemic, and the rogue activities of these removalists, which has directly led to new restrictions for Melbourne and greater Victoria,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“The majority of freight drivers have done a magnificent job during the pandemic of keeping supply chains moving. It is most unfortunate the irresponsible actions of these individuals have brought the transport industry into some disrepute.
“As an industry association we will be reinforcing that these individuals are not representative of the overwhelming majority of the freight and logistics industry in our interactions with government, the media and other stakeholders.”
The government is also banning furniture removal transport into Victoria by professional and recreational owner-driver type furniture removal operators.
In announcing the new restrictions to VTA members and the freight industry, Anderson noted that it is important for operators to reiterate to drivers the imperative of always following COVID Safe guidelines and requirements, including QR code check ins, mask wearing, hand hygiene and sanitization and social distancing.
He also reinforced registered transport company must have a COVID safe plan that has been communicated to all employees and contractors.
“If drivers are unwell they must refrain from working and get tested and self-isolate if they are symptomatic,” he said.
Anderson has also successfully lobbied for additional truckie-friendly testing stations to be opened at Broadford and Kalkallo.