NTC Chairman hits out at govt under-investment in rest areas

By: Jason Whittaker


National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Michael Deegan has criticised the state of rest areas, saying urgent funding is needed if

National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Michael Deegan has criticised the state of rest areas, saying urgent funding is needed if governments expect the industry to comply with impending fatigue management laws.

Addressing attendees during annual general meeting of the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA), Deegan referred to the condition of rest areas as "a joke".

He took aim at governments, saying if they want fatigue laws then they must ensure drivers have access to rest facilities as well as basic amenities such as toilets and drinking water.

"They’ve got to spend the money," he says.

"There are simply not enough rest areas."

His comments came in response to a recently released report by Austroads, which audited Australia’s rest areas and found none met spacing requirements with the majority having no adequate provisions for rest opportunities, toilets or drinking water.

According to the report, the woeful state of rest areas means drivers have to push on fatigued because they cannot pull over for a rest.

In a wide-ranging address, Deegan spoke frankly of capacity constraints such as skills shortages and transport bottlenecks, and how the National Transport Plan recently released by the NTC aims to address such issues.

He also used the speech to reiterate his support for a national safety accreditation scheme, citing the success of TruckSafe – which shows those who are part of the scheme have an outstanding safety record – as the reason why such a system should be implemented.

According to Deegan, national standards will streamline the process and provide incentives to companies and drivers who sign up.

"It could see a discount on fuel and a discount on registration," he says.

"It would be a huge advantage for industry and a huge advantage for government."

Deegan also took the opportunity to congratulate operators and drivers, saying the community takes for granted the work done by the industry and the supply chain as a whole.

"It’s a tough business," he says.

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