Industry identifies top rest area priorities

Heavy vehicle rest areas on key interstate routes should receive the highest funding priority, according to the ATA

Heavy vehicle rest areas on key interstate routes should receive the highest funding priority, according to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

The ATA has delivered to the Federal Government a list of the most urgent upgrades needed to rest areas across the country, identifying 18 priority locations where new or expanded facilities are needed.

The list was developed in conjunction with state member associations. South Australia will deliver its own list through the SA Road Transport Association (SARTA).

And thousands more facilities are needed on top of the priority areas, according to ATA Chairman Trevor Martyn.

"It [the list] represents the absolute minimum number of new or expanded rest areas we need to cope with the introduction of the new fatigue laws in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia on 29 September," he says.

"The new fatigue laws will require truck drivers to stop for rest breaks more often, but there simply aren’t enough places for them to stop. A recent audit concluded that none of Australia’s major highways have enough rest areas to meet the national guidelines.

"In total, thousands of new rest areas are needed across the country, including on state roads. Our state and sector member organisations have done significant work with the state road agencies on identifying these broader rest area funding priorities."

The Australian Government will contribute $70 million towards new facilities as part of its Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Plan over the next four years.

But Martyn says that is only the start.

"It is not nearly enough to build all the rest areas we need. As a first step, it’s vitally important the state and territory governments agree to match the Australian Government’s funding on a dollar for dollar basis," he says.

The ATA’s submission to the Government also asks it to direct funding toward road infrastructure upgrades to allow greater road access for high productivity vehicles, heavy vehicle de-coupling bays in and around urban and regional centres and, as a lower priority, trials of in-vehicle electronic systems to monitor truck speeds and driver hours.

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