The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) is lobbying hard to have the seven-day testing regime for double-vaccinated truckies scrapped once the state’s borders re-open without restrictions.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to relax rules for inter-state travel from November 19, or earlier, if 70 per cent of the eligible Queensland population is fully vaccinated.
QTA CEO Gary Mahon tells Big Rigs he’s hoping to have a definitive answer for industry before the state’s second jab deadline of November 15 for interstate truckies.
“Doesn’t an open border mean that if you’re double-vaxxed you should be able to go back and forth as normal?” said Mahon.
“It sounds like an obvious question, but it’s surprising that it’s not readily answered.”
The QTA played a key role in the launch of the rapid antigen trials for truckies at Goondiwindi this week and Mahon believes that method of Covid testing is the logical next step.
“If Queensland Health accepts the veracity and efficiency of rapid antigen testing, we would expect that would replace the seven-day requirement.
“In that case I would argue that’s not going to operate any differently to a RBT, so drivers would know they have to be double-vaxxed to come in and out of state and on occasions know they might also be subject to a random rapid antigen test.”
Queensland Health has been approached for comment.
As for the issue of losing drivers in Queensland because of the mandated double vax rules for truckies, Mahon estimates a five per cent loss from the interstate ranks.
But a portion of those had moved to intrastate work so weren’t completely lost to the industry, he said.