Travelling through Campbelltown, Tasmania, Big Rigs chatted with truck driver Steve Watts and several small business owners from the area about the proposed bypass.
During our discussion, it became apparent that the general consensus is that to go ahead with the long proposed bypass would not only be a disaster for the town (as it has demonstrably been recently for Perth) but it would also deprive truckies of the only opportunity on the Midland Highway to park legally and attend business matters such as accessing good food and refreshment stops, banks, the post office, supermarket, the council and police station.
Besides the road is wide and traffic is not so heavy as to dissuade tourists or disadvantage the locals. It was, however, also general consensus that there was no real expectation of this occurring in the near future owing to a lack of funds.
“I’ve been with DeBruyn’s now for 20 years and that tells you that I must be happy here,” says Watts. “I have watched them grow into a big and diversified company, but they are still a great outfit to work for and haven’t lost the feeling of family, and they do look after their drivers.”
Watts had stopped at Campbelltown’s Half-Way Deli, pulling over for a refreshment break. He was driving a recent model DeBruyn’s FM 500, returning from Hobart to Launceston, towing a tri-axle flat deck trailer with two containers on the back.
“I reckon it was a great move coming here, and I am happy still with that decision and have no regrets. I did my trade as a butcher, but I always needed a bit of adventure and to expand my horizons a bit, so I went fishing for a couple of years out of Bridport, and then, about 25 years ago I took up driving, and I find that this suits me better and is still a good lifestyle.”
When asked about time off, he says, “Well you could say I am rather keen on going out on the ocean sea fishing, so much so that I recently bought a boat and now fish out of Weymouth whenever the weather permits.”