All truck divers entering Queensland from another state – along with those entering on a freight pass – must be vaccinated with at least one dose under new regulations announced by the Palaszczuk government today.
The move comes after several freight drivers entered the state while infectious and moved around the community recently, a media statement said.
Under the changes, all truck drivers and those using the freight pass must have at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by October 15 and have their second dose (or a booking) by November 15.
Freight drivers entering Queensland from anywhere will also be required to produce a negative Covid test result at the border from within a seven-day period and maintain a seven-day rolling test regime while operating in the state.
The three-day testing rule that’s now in place will no longer be required.
A dedicated pop-up vaccination clinic will be established near the Queensland-New South Wales border to support the new vaccination rules for truck drivers.
The clinic will be located in Tugun, between Boyd Street and Kitchener Street, and come online from this afternoon, Tuesday, September 28.
“Freight workers and truck drivers are absolutely essential to keeping food on the table and rebuilding our economy,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“Regular testing has meant cases have been picked up quickly. But due to the nature of their work, we know that many freight workers and truck drivers are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19.
“That’s why we’re ramping up our vaccination rollout and making it quicker and easier for truck drivers crossing through the Gold Coast border to get vaccinated.
“Many drivers are already vaccinated – but for those that aren’t, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to get the jab.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the Gold Coast pop-up vaccination clinic was being established near the border at Tugun – in a location with plenty of parking and turnaround areas for trucks.
“With the Delta variant on our doorstep, we need to get as many Queenslanders as possible vaccinated quickly and safely,” she said.
“While we’ve been largely successful in keeping Covid-19 out of Queensland, there could be an outbreak any time, so make sure you are protected by getting vaccinated.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey thanked truckies for doing their part to keep Queenslanders safe.
“The freight industry has continued to step up to meet the additional requirements that have been asked of them since the pandemic began, and we know we’re asking more of them again to help us stop Delta from coming to Queensland,” Bailey said.
“Our big rig Covid-19 testing clinics at Boondall and Goondiwindi have worked really well so adding a pop-up vaccination clinic for truckies further strengthens our health response.
“We have been working with industry to get the balance of these new regulations right, so I thank them for their efforts and ongoing support through these challenging times.
“I encourage all drivers to take advantage of this and get vaccinated.”
Gary Mahon, CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association, said he hoped that, in general, the new rules will be well accepted by the industry.
“In terms of cross border operations it was inevitable that this would occur, particularly following on from the southern states’ decisions,” said Mahon.
“We’ve certainly been encouraging members for a considerable number of weeks now to get as many drivers vaccinated as possible, particularly those who are on cross border operations.
“My understand back from the fleets is that the vaccination rates are generally very good and I certainly hope that mandatory is not going to apply more generally to the industry.
“I think for intrastate operations, truck drivers should be treated with the same standards applied to the rest of the community.”