Rest stop snub for truck drivers

Big Rigs - - BUDGET 2018 -

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

SHOCK­ING STATE: Truck rest stops have been left out in the cold in the Fed­eral Bud­get.

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