The mainstream media’s recent treatment over reports of three truck drivers who tested positive for Covid-19 after spending time in Western Australia has come under fire from Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny.
All the three drivers, who were from South Australia, were fully vaccinated.
“It’s an insult. We’ve had about six incidents of concern from cross border transport,” Dumesny said.
By the nature of the industry, transport workers don’t get to choose where they travel and as such find themselves travelling through some of the largest Covid hotspots in the country, explained Dumesny.
“We’ve had hard border closures for some 87 weeks in Western Australia and in that time, we’ve had probably 50,000 cross-border transport movements. All truck drivers have complied with the rules, so 99.9 per cent of drivers have done well,” he said.
“We focus on one or two incidences. They’re a concern when they happen, but it’s a remarkable effort.”
Dumesny was particularly critical of the mainstream media, that tends to enjoy feeding into the paranoia of the general public.
“There’s no balance in the mainstream media, who just go for a sensationalist headline and denigrate our truck drivers,” he said.
Transport workers are currently the only gateway to resourced such as food, online retail shopping and spare parts from the mining industry. A fact that Dumesny says the wider public tends to forget.
“60 percent of our retain comes in from the East. They never give us credit in that if it wasn’t for our drivers, WA would have been shut down within a week,” he said.
Given the current reprisals, Dumesny said drivers from both WA and SA were wary of travelling between each state for fear of being quarantined over the holiday period.
“Drivers spend so much time away from their families, it’s the last thing they need at Christmas,” he said.
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, also emphasised the tremendous efforts by transport workers to the Australian Trucking Association in September.
“Let me thank all of those drivers, transport operators, freight and logistics workers who throughout this pandemic have risen to the challenge and kept our shelves stocked and critical supplies moving,” said Buchholz.
“The work you do is important, and you have the absolute respect and appreciation of the entire country.”