News of last night’s national cabinet directive that rolling seven-day Covid testing requirements be scrapped for truckies has been met with cautious optimism from industry.
Many Big Rigs readers were celebrating the news on our Facebook page.
“About bloody time!!,” writes Jennifer Colman. “Poor buggers have been the hardest done by during this whole thing.”
But just as many were dubious about whether states and territories would fall into line after so many other national cabinet orders had been ignored by premiers over the last couple of years. WA has already indicated it would not be a signatory.
“National cabinet doesn’t have control over state rules,” said Jim Bob. “I’ll believe it when Qld changes the rules on their freight protocol page.”
Adds Tony James: “Palletchook may have agreed in Nat Cabinet, but she never keeps to the agreement. Not holding my breath on this one.”
A spokesperson for the Australian Trucking Association said today that it welcomes any move that makes life easier for truckies and this move by national cabinet is just “common sense”.
“In terms of the states and territories, this situation has clearly been a shambles to date and we hope they fall in line with this sensible national cabinet decision,” the spokesperson said.
“We will be assessing the situation regularly as we speak to our members.”
In his message to members, Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon said a positive conclusion “is in reach” after continued advocacy in the past 24 hours with Transport Minister Mark Bailey and TMR Director-General Neil Scales on impending changes to the Queensland Freight Protocol.
“At this stage, we anticipate the new protocol will be issued before the weekend. I am confident that you will be comfortable with the new requirements after two years of difficult conditions for the industry,” said Mahon, who called for patience as formal details are finalised.
“Queensland Health are currently updating the Operational directions for freight movements entering Queensland and Qld Police are managing the border pass system to align with the new requirements.
“I understand this situation is frustrating, however the long awaited removal of PCR testing for drivers is in sight. Our advocacy for rapid antigen testing since July last year will finally see a workable solution for drivers to be able to cross into Queensland without the burden of waiting for test results.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison relayed the new national cabinet directive yesterday, along with a raft of other changes, in a bid to take the pressure off the strained testing regime.
We’ll have more news on the various states and territories compliance to the order, and details on timings, as they come to hand.