Rest stop snub for truck drivers
TRUCKIES are the major losers in the infrastructure spend, with yet another piddling drip-feed of funds for much-needed rest areas, barely $46 million for the entire country.
To put that paltry amount into perspective, South Australia Road Transport Association executive director Steve Shearer said the state needed significantly more than that to fix its own rest stops.
“So once again the Federal Government has failed to deliver rest area funds on the one hand, whilst being perfectly happy to persecute truck drivers and even owners with substantial fines of $500 to $750,” Mr Shearer said.
“Plus when drivers fail to take a short rest on time, regardless of the fact that the lack of rest area capacity and locations is more often than not the cause.
“How can a driver expect to always rest on time if when they arrive at a rest area it’s full of as many as two trucks, as most rest areas are small, or caravanners, and worse, the next rest area is 150–200km up the road?
“The shameful ongoing failure of federal and state governments to fund rest areas and ensure that the supply meets the peak demand is pure unadulterated and petty politics – they just don’t get their electoral bang for the bucks.”
Australian Trucking Association chief executive Ben Maguire joined the chorus of disapproval for the woeful budget spend.
He said the figures, buried on page 30 of the Treasury portfolio budget statement, showed the government needed to focus on delivering its budget commitments as well as announcing them.
“The fatigue laws require truck drivers to take regular breaks but there still aren’t enough truck rest areas in the right places,” Mr Maguire said.
“When rest areas are available they are, all too often, filled up with caravans.
“Their condition can be shocking.”
He said our roads and rest areas were a driver’s workplace.
“We have little chance of resolving fatigue if we do not provide drivers with the basics they need to do their job of moving Australia’s freight to homes and businesses,” Mr Maguire said.
“The government’s own budget documents show that it expects to be $13.6 million behind on rest area spending in 2017–18.
“The government needs to focus on delivering its budget commitments and fixing the real problems that Australia’s truck drivers face on the roads whenever they need to take a break.”
You can read more about this issue in Ben Maguire’s column on page 40.
❝The shameful ongoing failure of federal and state governments to fund rest areas and ensure that the supply meets the peak demand is pure unadulterated and petty politics.
SHOCKING STATE: Truck rest stops have been left out in the cold in the Federal Budget.