Dedicated freight Covid testing facilities in NSW and Qld


Attempts to ease bottlenecks lead to additional pop-up sites

Dedicated freight Covid testing facilities in NSW and Qld
Other sites, such Armidale's Laverty Pathology COVID-19 drive-through testing clinic, have adapted to accept semi-trailers

 

In response to industry demand, more freight-friendly Covid-19 testing facilities are in operation in New South Wales and Queensland.

In the former, a site is opening in Wetherill Park, making it easier for heavy vehicle drivers to get tested in the Greater Sydney area.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said the Sydney pop-up site was in addition to the five sites already open along key freight routes across the state to keep freight moving and freight workers Covid-safe.

"The NSW Government has been working closely with the freight industry, which is doing a phenomenal job to keep essential goods moving into our communities through this pandemic," Toole said.

"We know that heavy vehicles are not able to easily access the large majority of the current community testing locations, and these pop-up sites make it easier for our truckies to get tested and get back on the road.

"With increased mandatory testing requirements in place for freight workers across multiple jurisdictions, we have seen unprecedented demand on our freight testing sites, so opening Sydney’s first site tomorrow will be very welcome news."

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the Sydney-based site will provide operators with more choice as they carry out their essential work.

"The new Wetherill Park site will allow truck drivers safe and efficient access to Covid-19 tests which will help them remain safe as they move across the state," Mr Constance said.

"This facility is a welcome addition to our already existing freight Covid-19 testing sites at key transport routes, as it will help support the freight industry comply with testing requirements."

The site at 250 Victoria Street is open from 7am Saturday, 7 August and will be supported by pathology staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Calls for testing at inspection stations, here


Meanwhile, a second testing facility for truck drivers is open at the BP in Charlton, west of Toowoomba from 8am.

The opening of a temporary testing facility in the Toowoomba region to support freight and logistics drivers crossing Queensland's border follows the establishment of a a drive-through facility at the Port of Brisbane which opened on Friday, July 30.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the temporary testing sites were needed to support the mandatory testing regime that came into effect on 30 July for freight and logistics drivers coming into Queensland and working around the state.

"Mandatory testing is vital to help stop the potential spread of Covid-19 and keep essential drivers, their families and their colleagues safe," Bailey said.

"These are challenging times for everyone and the freight industry has continued to step up to meet the additional requirements that have been asked of them since the pandemic began.

"Transport and Main Roads has worked closely with QML Pathology, Queensland Health, the BP at Charlton and the Port of Brisbane Authority to provide truck-only, accessible, testing facilities.

"I also thank the Port of Brisbane Authority for its work and cooperation so far as the site has seen 80 to 100 truck drivers COVID-19 tested each day since it opened, and to the Queensland Trucking Association for working with us to help meet the requirements of drivers and operators.

"There are also three heavy-vehicle testing sites open in Acacia Ridge, Boondall and Robina to test prime movers without trailers, light and heavy rigid trucks.

"We’re continuing to work with industry and pathology providers to identify more COVID-19 testing site options that are suitable for heavy vehicles.

"We expect to have a third dedicated facility up and running in north Brisbane early next week."

Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon welcomed the developments.

"The opening of the dedicated truck-only testing facility at Charlton will provide much needed relief for drivers using this major freight route," he said.

"We appreciate the response by Transport and Main Roads and QML to get this facility up and running," he said.

"We know the pressure on drivers to comply with mandatory testing is rising, and the opening of this testing facility will be very much welcomed by the industry.

"We will continue to advocate for common sense solutions and support drivers to perform their essential role and keep freight moving around the country."

Heavy vehicle drivers who have entered a declared Covid-19 hotspot or affected area are required to meet testing regimes under the Operational protocol for freight movements entering Queensland.

Mr Bailey said a class exemption was currently in place for freight and logistics operators entering Queensland with perishable goods or livestock until 1am on August 9.

"We will keep working with industry to ensure freight operators transporting perishable products and livestock can keep supplies flowing across our borders," he said.

"It is more important than ever to know exactly what is required, including the border passes and documentation heavy vehicle drivers need to enter Queensland."

QML Pathology can also test drivers in prime movers without trailers, light and heavy rigid trucks at the following sites: 

  • Acacia Ridge, 174 Mortimer Road
  • Boondall, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
  • Robina, corner of Scottsdale Drive and Christine Avenue

 

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