The National Cabinet’s decision that truck stops can stay open recognises that truck drivers are essential workers and deserve support, Australian Trucking Association Chair Geoff Crouch said today.
Last night (30 March), the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the National Cabinet approved an exemption for roadhouses, dedicated truck stop facilities and truck driver lounges to remain open.
The decision followed a strong campaign by the ATA and its members, and the full support of Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Assistant Road Safety and Transport Minister Scott Buchholz.
“Australia’s truck drivers are working hard to deliver the food, medicine and essential goods we need to get through this epidemic, but too many truck stops have closed their facilities, including toilets and showers,” Mr Crouch said.
“Truck drivers are essential and deserve better. They need to be able to take a break on the road; they can’t just wander out of their home office and grab something from the fridge.
“With our member associations, we have been working with government to get a result. And since last Friday, our social media on the issue has reached more than 265,000 people.
“I want to thank Michael McCormack and Scott Buchholz for responding to the industry’s calls so rapidly, and the National Cabinet for recognising the importance of this issue.
“I also want to thank the ATA’s member associations for their absolute unity and common effort.
“These are the times that being in an industry association is vitally important. If you’re a trucking operator and not in an ATA member association, I urge you to join right now.”
Mr Crouch said the ATA would now work to encourage truck stops to use the exemption, with appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures.
“We’ll be rolling out a major campaign later today, in conjunction with national industry newspaper Big Rigs,” he said.
The ATA’s member associations are:
ATA media release: Truckies denied access to toilets
Federal government media release: Exemptions for heavy vehicle drivers at rest stops