Don’t Mandate Testing for Freight Workers With No COVID Symptoms

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is asking the national cabinet to discard mandatory testing of asymptomatic freight workers when they meet today. Mandatory testing of freight drivers, who have no COVID-19 symptoms, should not be part of the response to the containment of the pandemic.

“We know that the issue of State and Territory border closures will be on the agenda for the national cabinet meeting today and that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will urge the States and Territories to reach agreement on the easing of border controls,” said Mr Warren Clark, NatRoad Chief Executive.

“The road transport industry has taken a highly responsible position to minimising the risk of spreading the COVID virus and we have had no issues of transmission. 

“Interstate freight drivers are not instigators of outbreaks. So, to have the South Australian Government mandate testing has caused many administrative problems for the transport of freight, particularly as some States won’t test asymptomatic drivers without requiring them to quarantine,” Mr Clark said.

The newly agreed Freight Movement Code sets out the measures that will be enforced by relevant states and territories through their Public Health Orders and Emergency Management Directions. The enforceable measures have been specified to deliver greater consistency between States and Territories in their implementation of border controls, especially for COVID-19 testing, self-isolation requirements while working, and reporting requirements to facilitate contact tracing. The Government says that a small number of variations will continue to exist between states and territories, and these will be clearly communicated to the National Regulators, the freight and logistics industry and to border control authorities.  One of those so-called small variations should not be something as fundamental as differences in mandatory testing.

“NatRoad agrees that all freight drivers displaying symptoms should get testing, but mandating testing is inefficient and not required. South Australia should drop the requirement and there should be a national agreement that no other States and Territories will follow suit,” Mr Clark concluded.