Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon believes there is a simple solution to allay the state government’s new concerns around the nine infected drivers who have entered Queensland from NSW recently.
Mahon said introducing rapid antigen testing at existing Covid testing sites – on both sides of the border – would add another layer of protection by doing away with the delays truckies are currently experiencing in receiving PCR results.
“At the moment, by the time they get their three-day test result, they’ve done their delivery and they’re back south of the border before they get the result,” said Mahon.
“What we’re saying is you could remedy that by introducing rapid antigen testing as an option at the testing clinics.
“Truckies are doing everything that is asked of them. It’s the system that’s not really keeping up.”
With some 2400 daily truck crossings over the Queensland/NSW border, Mahon said nine cases under the circumstances is still exceptionally low.
“It’s an extraordinary performance by the industry when you consider how much of a virus load there is in NSW,” he said.
Based on feedback from QTA members, Mahon said Queensland truckies are also more than playing their part when it comes to vaccinations.
He estimates that 60 per cent of interstate drivers in the state have already had a first jab, with one fleet reporting a 90 per cent uptake.
Mahon said the logical next step would be for health officials to introduce an incentive for truckies.
“So if a driver is double-jabbed why wouldn’t they just move out to a seven-day testing regime and not have to be subjected to the three-day cycle.
“At the moment, if you get double-jabbed or not, you still get tested at exactly the same rate.”