The States and territories have announced they will accept streamlined COVID-19 measures put forward by the road freight industry to keep essential goods and services moving, but ongoing complexity threatens best intentions, according to the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad).
“The system of permits remains as it is until each state and territory gets around to changing its health orders, and the ways in which the rules are applied are all different,” said Warren Clark, CEO of NatRoad.
“The unworkability is summed up by the NSW Police Commissioner’s pledge to not hold his officers to account if they issue an incorrect COVID-19 fine.
“Giving police permission to ‘get it wrong’ is odd when the same leeway more often than not isn’t applied to heavy vehicle drivers.
“Recently, NatRoad wrote to State Transport Ministers asking them to consider a Five-Point Plan of practical measures for border passes, checkpoints and COVID testing.
“Right now we are being confronted by more and different forms of permit. Cross-border complexity now translates to NSW intra-state travel complexity which adds to members likelihood of “getting it wrong.”
“Police have a job to do – as does anyone who has to enforce the laws on the borders.
“But if police have the capacity to ‘get it wrong’ then surely that underlines there’s something seriously amiss with the system.
“Unless there is deliberate flouting of the law, issuing fines for technical issues relating to passes should not be imposed on truck drivers.
“Give out warnings and help drivers to comply rather than punishing them until we have a uniform and freight-friendly system.”