South Australian Road Transport boss Steve Shearer is hopeful that the ridiculous situation depicted in the video below of truckies wasting work hours stuck in testing queues will soon come to an end.
Community Facebook page Cross Border Callout posted this clip from Tailem Bend earlier this week which showed dozens of drivers pulled over trying to juggle health orders with delivery commitments.
After a follow-up meeting with Health SA, police and pathology providers yesterday, Shearer was pleased to report that priority test processing for interstate truckies will be in place from early next week.
“This is a huge gain for the drivers and the industry but it can’t be implemented immediately because it requires documentation and briefing/training of testing staff and security officers at the sites,” Shearer said.
He added that test sites locations and hours of operation are being ramped up and details will be published soon by SA Pathology.
At the meeting, SARTA and the TWU also proposed several new/alternative sites, including in the Wingfield area as well as regionally, and these are all under consideration.
SARTA’s proposal that drivers who choose to be vaccinated have reduced testing requirements is under careful consideration and remains on the table as an option but needs more assessment.
Shearer said saliva testing as an alternative to PCR (nasal swab) testing is considered impractical as it would have to be daily and through the official test sites, which would massively increase the workload at the already stretched sites.
On the SARTA Facebook page, Shearer also listed the current ‘freight-friendly’ test site locations and current hours.
“NOTE updates of increased hours and/or locations will be published as they become available.”