Drivers lack the basics in big freeze
THE sudden cold snap around the country has renewed calls for improved basic facilities for livestock carriers and other drivers.
After experiencing the conditions first-hand, Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria vice-president Marla Stone sent out a passionate plea for action on the LRTAV Facebook page, tagging in local MP Jaala Pulford, who was also the state's new minister for roads.
"This post is about reminding policy makers, bureaucrats and those in our supply chain how important basic human needs are to our members,” Ms Stone wrote.
"All over Victoria today some of our livestock members are transporting sheep or cattle or pigs or other livestock. Others will be cleaning tippers or other trailers or equipment. If they are fortunate there will be a truck wash at their destination or close by.
"And if they are even luckier, there will be a hot shower at that location.
"But many won't have one. Even with wet weather gear, they will be cold, wet and covered in effluent.
"We ask all of our supply chain, would you want to be wet and cold on a day like today? Transporters need truck washes but they need access to a hot, clean shower too. This isn't a luxury, this is a basic necessity. And truck washes aren't free, users pay an average of $1 a minute to use them.
"Imagine having to change out of your wet clothes into dry ones in public next to your truck? That's the reality for many of our members on a daily basis, with no shower or toilet to provide the most basic of privacy or comfort.”
Ms Stone told Big Rigs it was important to keep lobbying for change right around Australia. She said many politicians were under the misconception that these facilities already existed.
They do for staff but not always for contractors.
"Money is the big problem,” she said.
"It's not the place that earns the money at that site. The money is made in selling pens, not toilets or showers. That said, there are a lot of people who support the work needed but it's slow and incremental.”
She said truck washes were few and far between around Melbourne. She appreciated the processor locations, which were often close to commercial and residential areas, were impediments but couldn't see why more couldn't be built on the city outskirts.