Call continues for more truck rest stops in region

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Road-train drivers say a shortage of suitable rest areas increases the risk of serious road accidents.
Camera IconRoad-train drivers say a shortage of suitable rest areas increases the risk of serious road accidents.

Labor MPs and road transport interests say they are disappointed the Australian Government only expects to spend $46.4 million of this year’s $60 million Budget for truck rest areas.

However, Member for Durack Melissa Price said she made sure there were new truck bays constructed on North West Coastal Highway and on Midlands Road last year.

“We didn’t miss out in the Mid West. We got three truck stops,” she said.

She said these included a $200,000 southbound truck bay 73km north of Geraldton, a $200,00 truck bay and rest area between Geraldton and Dongara, and another $212,500 heavy vehicle rest area near Dongara.

“I’m disappointed if we haven’t spent all the money but there is $2 billion infrastructure funding in this new Budget, which is what I am particularly focused on,” she said.

Transport Workers’ Union WA secretary Tim Dawson said his union continued to call for more modern rest facilities to improve his members’ safety. “Drivers need places they can park far enough off the road, so passing traffic doesn’t keep them awake, and decent showers and toilets,” he said.

“There are not enough road houses so when they have got to have a break, it’s not always at a roadhouse.”

Labor Senator Glenn Sterle, a former owner driver operating road trains between Perth and Darwin, said there had always been a shortage of rest areas for heavy vehicle drivers.

“I have spent many hours in rest areas as an ex-long distance truckie but unfortunately, not as many hours as I would like to have,” he said.

“When I was out on the highway, we were lucky if it wasn’t raining because the rest areas were all dirt.”

Senator Sterle said the Government’s own Budget documents showed it expected to spend $13.6 million less on rest areas than was allocated in the 2017-18 budget.

“This Government is good at re-announcing money for spending projects,” he said.

“It is not as though we are rebuilding the Sydney Harbour Bridge, rest areas can be knocked up very quickly and very easily in very short time.”

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