In normal times, the trucking industry suffers from invisible border problems, but now with lock downs and border closures affecting everyone, the ridiculous problems created by the federal and state system are plain for all to see.
Trucking people are used to having each state make a slightly or substantially different rule for just about everything. The petty differences seem to be a form of one-upmanship so that each state bureaucracy can justify its existence.
There is an insistence that each state is so substantially different from the others that it needs a completely different set of rules to regulate the trucking industry. This simply creates a compliance and paperwork nightmare for interstate operators and keeps countless bureaucrats in pointless jobs.
However, at the moment the pandemic is bringing all of these petty problems into the national arena and onto the mass media. The issues caused by individual states making different rules for border crossings, then changing them day-to-day and then not communicating them widely enough has led to chaos and confusion.
There’s a lot at stake here and the system is letting everyone down. Confusion reigns and the only thing governments are doing comprehensively, is blame shifting. We don’t want to hear whether its a federal or state responsibility or that what works in Victoria will never work in NSW.
What we want to hear is where are all the testing stations for truck drivers to go to in order to get a Covid test are, when the state introduces mandatory testing. We need to know why something like a rapid antigen testing kit is not being distributed to allow the safe and timely passage of freight from one end of the country to the other.
The speeches tell us that road transport workers are to be classified as essential workers, but we don’t hear anything about a fast tracking of facilities to enable these ‘essential’ workers to get the jab which will not just keep them safe but limit the possibility of them spreading infection on their travels.
We always knew that cross border rules and regulations were a nightmare, but nobody was going to do anything about it. Now the problems are on the nightly news and unveiled for all to see. Does that mean we might see some rationality in the next generation of regulations? Are the invisible border problems going away? I am not holding my breath.