EDITORIAL: Rest area report a national political scandal

By: Jason Whittaker


Here’s the story so far. Governments’ road agencies commission a report into the state of rest areas along the nation’s

Here’s the story so far. Governments’ road agencies commission a report into the state of rest areas along the nation’s highways, governments fib about facilities in the report, once the damning report is completed they sit on it for months, and a fortnight after it is finally released publicly nobody seems quite sure what to do about it.

If this was hospitals or schools or public housing it would be a national political scandal. And yet the ministers ATN has contacted this week simply plead ignorance or innocence or both.

A spokesperson for Warren Truss, the former turned shadow transport minister, claims the states didn’t once ask for more to be spent on amenities or rest areas. No doubt. The initial response from the Western Australia minister was to dismiss the report entirely – but the office is getting back to us.

After all, they’ve only had a good six months to respond.

This is the most damning indictment on the political process and the standing of the trucking industry in the halls of power. An issue so important swept under the carpet because it wasn’t deemed nearly political pertinent enough.

And the hypocrisy of governments pushing new fatigue laws while neglecting to provide appropriate facilities to allow the industry to comply, in the face of overwhelming evidence, is stunning. Operators should not be expected to comply while the bureaucrats fail to hold up their end of the bargain.

Let's be clear: governments everywhere now stand directly culpable for fatigue-related incidents on the road.

ATN will continue to demand accountability from governments on this report. We’ll let you know when and if anybody decides to respond.

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