We are in a situation, with the which the trucking industry is more than familiar, as the border confusion continues, again, demonstrating, once again, an issue which plagues our industry in its relationship with the authorities.
This ongoing debacle brings into focus two of the stories featured by Diesel News last Thursday. In one the issue was driver permits into NSW and in the other it was how trucking comes up against the same road-block every time, a rule is laid down and then the various governments involved head off in different directions, leaving the trucking industry to pick up the pieces, over and over.
This time around the issue is a testing regime which was, supposedly, set out in an agreement at National Cabinet level for a consistent interstate freight protocol, last Friday. This was aimed at giving the trucking community the certainty it needs to ensure drivers and trucks arrive at a border checkpoint with all of the Is dotted and the Ts crossed in their paperwork and from their coronavirus testing to be able to continue to provide our ‘essential service’.
Once the agreement was forged, all of the state governments decide to head off in conflicting directions and create a series of confusing and contradictory rules. Of course, New South Wales, who are past masters in this field, took a new tangent which even had its own people even more confused than usual.
I am not sure how this all happened, but what I do know is, THIS IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY!
Whatever we do to try and control this emergency needs to be decided at a national level and the states need to carry it out to the letter to protect the health of the entire Australian community. When are the states going to realise that freight transport is vital to the whole Australian economy and should be controlled nationally by one set of rules and one regulatory authority?
This is yet another example of a small-minded set of officials, who are more intent on looking after their own little area of control than looking at the bigger picture and looking out for the welfare of 25 million Australians.
These border crossing and driver testing issues are simply a searchlight beam which is picking out the inadequacies of the way this country runs its government business. It highlights, through the confusion and delays at our state borders, a malady which afflicts just about every interaction between the road transport industry and some levels of government.
As I pointed out last week in my opinion piece, the schmozzle has afflicted mass regulations, fatigue regulations, access decisions, permit application processes, performance based standards, harvest schemes, livestock schemes, health and safety rules, the list goes on, and on.
Let’s hope the severity of our current issues brings home the ridiculous nature of some of the petty differences between state and regional authorities which dog our industry.