Fa­tigue laws need fix: KAP

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kate Dodd [email protected]­grigs.com.au

AUS­TRALIA’S fa­tigue man­age­ment laws are “straight out ridicu­lous” says Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party Queens­land State Leader and Traeger MP Rob­bie Kat­ter.

That’s why he’s push­ing for tem­po­rary amend­ments to Queens­land’s driver fa­tigue man­age­ment laws, say­ing cur­rent lim­i­ta­tions on live­stock trans­porters’ driv­ing hours were ex­pos­ing stock to need­less harm and suf­fer­ing.

Mr Kat­ter said he’d asked Min­is­ter for Trans­port and Main Roads Mark Bai­ley and Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Mark Furner to raise the is­sue with the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor as cur­rently truck driv­ers were re­quired to pull over at least ev­ery five and a half hours while weak stock suf­fered and in some cases per­ished in the hot sun.

“We’d love to see a mas­sive over­haul of the fa­tigue man­age­ment laws,” he told Big Rigs.

“I think they cause a lot of un­nec­es­sary angst and harm pro­duc­tiv­ity and take away the au­ton­omy that driv­ers need to man­age them­selves prop­erly.

“There’s the old adage you can’t leg­is­late for idiots and there’s a small amount that may do the wrong thing, but by and large most peo­ple do a good job of man­ag­ing their fa­tigue and don’t need the gov­ern­ment mak­ing rigid laws that do more harm than good.”

He said live­stock driv­ers and hauliers were un­der pres­sure thanks to Queens­land’s drought con­di­tions.

“They’ve got stressed an­i­mals on board and they’re try­ing to get from A to B and when you’ve got a big head­wind and a slow road, you run out of hours pretty fast.

“It’s pretty im­prac­ti­cal two hours short of Mt Isa or Clon­curry, for in­stance, and you’ve got stressed an­i­mals.

“It would seem silly that there wouldn’t be some lat­i­tude by the gov­ern­ment un­der these con­di­tions to make life a lit­tle bit eas­ier for these driv­ers.

“All we’re ask­ing for is to give a bit of au­ton­omy back to the driv­ers so they can man­age this in very dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.

“It’s a cost-free way and a re­ally prac­ti­cal way the gov­ern­ment can help.”

While Mr Kat­ter was only push­ing for amend­ments for live­stock driv­ers, he said he’d be “very keen” to push for a com­plete over­haul for the fa­tigue man­age­ment laws for all heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors in re­gional ar­eas.

“The fa­tigue man­age­ment laws are some­thing straight out ridicu­lous,” he said.

“They give a false sense of se­cu­rity to peo­ple be­cause (it) forces in some cases driv­ers to sleep when they’re not tired and drive when they are tired to make it from A to B just be­cause these laws were drawn up by some bloom­ing bu­reau­crat in the city.

“We’re bat­tling these laws all the time but for now we just want amend­ments and some lat­i­tude ap­plied dur­ing the drought con­di­tions.

“We do ac­knowl­edge there are some ways you can get around it but the pa­per­work in­volved makes it im­prac­ti­cal for most peo­ple.

“It’s time con­sum­ing and cum­ber­some.

“Some of those per­mits you can get un­der schemes, a lot of peo­ple don’t use that stuff be­cause you’re busy enough with the busi­ness as it is try­ing to make ends meet.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

TIME FOR CHANGE: Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party Queens­land State Leader and Traeger MP Rob­bie Kat­ter is push­ing for amend­ments to the driver fa­tigue laws.

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