Truckies entering Queensland face tougher Covid-testing regimes under stricter new laws that come into effect from 1am Friday July 30.
Drivers will be required to prove they have completed the necessary Covid-19 testing regime, which includes evidence of a recent (within seven days) negative test result if they have been in a declared hotspot.
Those coming from the New South Wales Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Fairfield, Liverpool, Bankstown, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River will need evidence of having had a test within three days of attempting to enter Queensland.
Anyone failing to adhere to those regimes and without an approved Freight and Logistics pass will not be permitted to cross the border and will be turned around, warned police in a statement today.
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said he has serious concerns about how truckies and their employers will adhere to the tough new requirements, especially without dedicated ‘freight-friendly’ drive-through testing sites.
“A basic tenant of compliance policy is that the population you’re trying to affect needs to have some reasonable means to comply, and that’s what we don’t see,” Mahon told Big Rigs.
“It’s going to be extraordinarily difficult for drivers and employers to keep up with keeping everybody within the test construct that they need to be.
“You’re also going to have the situation now in which drivers who need to be at home resting need to be out and about finding a testing clinic.
“We genuinely can’t see how the testing system will keep up.”
That’s why Mahon retiterated industry calls today that a rapid test option be permitted for the freight industry to ease the testing burden on truckies.
“What we’re saying is, why can’t we have a balance of the two, like a belts and braces approach that gives people an opportunity to reasonably comply.
“If you look at the last 18 months, it’s been an extraordinary result from the freight industry with no infection breakout.
“And I’m convinced a lot of that can be attributed to the fact we have been able to keep drivers in a relative bubble, whereas now they’ve got to be out and about and in queues, substantially increasing their risk of infection.
“I don’t see any problem in treating them a bit difrently because of the importance of the supply chain.”
More information about current requirements is available here.
Police are also asking operators to view locations of COVID-19 heavy vehicle driver testing facilities service centres and roadhouses that are still open during the trading restrictions.
“Police have been working closely with the trucking industry to ensure drivers understand the new border pass requirements,” Queensland Police added in today’s media statement.
“In recent days, more than 75 heavy vehicles have been turned around at the border for invalid border passes or other compliance issues.”
Now the initial ‘amnesty’ period is over, Mahon implores all truckies to have their paperwork in order before arriving at the Queensland border tomorrow.
“Not only will there be queues, we think it’ll be fairly likely that traffic management going to be a problem fairly early in the piece because it’s likely that plenty will arrive at the border who are not ship-shape.”