Help, says Qld, we've run out of work diaries

Queensland truck drivers go without work diaries for a month amid claims the State Government has had to seek interstate help to meet demand.

Help, says Qld, we've run out of work diaries
Help,says Qld, we've run out of work diaries
By Brad Gardner and Samantha Freestone

Queensland truck drivers may need to go without work diaries for a month amid claims the State Government has had to seek interstate help to meet demand.

Government-run customer centres are continually failing to stock enough work diaries for drivers, with drivers told there will not be any more until February.

The centre at Laidley, which is in a region surrounded by primary producers and trucking operators, this week turned drivers away.

"The centre was open, but you can imagine their (drivers) surprise when they were told that the centre had run out of new work diaries and will not have more until February," an operator wrote to the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA).

The letter contradicts comments made by Minister for Transport John Mickel, who claims drivers only need to wait up to seven days for a work diary.

In order to combat the shortage, NRFA Chief Executive Clare Mildren says Queensland Transport has been forced to ask NSW to send spare copies.

"Obviously they need to learn from other states how to fill a stationary order," she says.

Accusing Mickel and Queensland Transport of "poor management", Mildren says NRFA has contacted the Government to resolve the issue but nothing is being done.

Although Mickel says drivers can use photocopies, Mildren says this is unacceptable because of the burden it places on the industry.

She says drivers must maintain three records, which is easy with a work diary because it has carbon paper.

However, Mildren claims drivers without diaries need to photocopy three pages for each day’s work and then individually fill them out.

"What kind of a minister would introduce this without ensuring the bureaucracy is there to back it up?" Mildren says.

Nolan's Transport, which is based at Gatton near Laidley, had to call Queensland Transport and then distributors to request more work diaries to be sent.

Compliance Manager Darren Nolan says the Government miscalculated the number of diaries it needed.

"We did have difficulties getting them for many weeks," Nolan says.

Victoria is also experiencing shortages, with regional offices unable to keep up with demand over the Christmas period.

Manager of Compliance, Policy and Strategy for Vic Roads Don Lionie says there was a higher than usual demand for work diaries after they became mandatory from December 28.

But Lionie says VicRoads has been pleased with the transition to fatigue management laws, adding "we haven’t had too many issues".

VicRoads set up a consultation group in October last year, which also includes the Transport Workers Union and the Victorian Transport Association.

The assembly is designed to monitor the laws to ensure they remain relevant.

"Post implementation, we hope to keep things as seamless as they can be. There are pockets of different opinions [but] as far as the process being bedded down, we aren’t having any difficulties," Lionie says.

ATN has contacted Queensland Transport, which is a formulating a response to our questions.

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