Open Roads Bill 'dangerous' for trucking industry: NTI

Queensland Government's decision to bulldoze broken down trucks from the road sets a "dangerous" precedent, NTI says

By Samantha Freestone

The Queensland Government’s decision to bulldoze broken down trucks from the road sets a "dangerous" precedent, according to National Transport Insurance (NTI).

The agency has criticised the Bligh Government’s decision to pass the Open Roads Bill, which permits road authorities to forcibly remove vehicles blocking traffic without taking responsibility for the damage caused.

The Government has tendered the work out to RACQ, which NTI has questioned due to RACQ’s lack of experience with heavy vehicles.

"From an insurance perspective, we think they will cause more damage, and that is a concern," a spokesperson for NTI says.

The spokesperson says the Bill gives authorities too much power, such as detailing what methods can be used to remove stricken vehicles.

"On page 193 of the Bill it states ‘by whatever means necessary’, and that is fairly dangerous," the spokesperson says.

The bulldozers are purpose-built heavy duty trucks costing a reported $3.3 million.

Towing contractors are also scathing of the Government’s decision, with claims they were not invited to assist in the Bill’s creation.

Andrew McGowan of Queensland-based Barnes Heaving Towing and Salvage argues the trucks are a waste of taxpayer funds because towing companies already have specific vehicles capable of removing trucks from the road.

"We were not invited and we were shut out", McGowan says of stake-holder discussions.

He says he made repeated requests to Bligh’s office but was excluded throughout various stages of the process.

"Why, I don’t know. We are one of the largest heavy vehicle recovery companies in the country. In terms of reference, we should have been a stakeholder," McGowan says.

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