Fight brewing for truckies' best pal
DAVID Phillips loves putting a smile on a truckie's face each time they pull up to his mobile espresso van at the Yelgun rest interchange, just north of Brunswick Heads in Northern NSW.
Rain, hail, or shine - although he did miss one day to avoid a cyclone - The Bean Van Man has been loyally re-fuelling weary drivers from his Pacific Highway oasis from 5am-1.30pm, Monday to Friday, for the past four years.
But now David fears his future, and that of dozens of other mobile vendors just like him, is up in the air pending a Roads and Maritime Services review of NSW rest stops and who can operate there.
"I am devastated by the developments unfolding after all of the hard work to establish this business,” David tells Big Rigs.
"RMS gave me the right as a stakeholder four years ago to trade on their asset, offer a service to the public and now to do a complete backflip on this policy, I find reprehensible.
"I have fully complied with Byron Council Health permits and appropriate insurance coverage.”
A spokesperson told Big Rigs the RMS was develop- ing a Rest Stop Framework for the provision and upgrade of rest stop areas.
This would review existing policies relating to rest areas, including for mobile vending.
No new vendor permit applications are being processed while the review is under way but existing permits may be renewed for up to 12 months on expiry.
"Roads and Maritime recognises the need for small business operators to be able to plan future investment in their business and will continue to keep vendors updated on any changes to current arrangements, if any, as this work progresses,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, David isn't taking the news lying down.
He's started an on-site petition to help save the roadside vendor, which gleaned 1200 signatures in less than three weeks.
David has also enlisted his local MP Tamara Smith to help get some answers from Melinda Pavey, the state Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.
Perhaps his most persuasive argument for a reprieve from packing up shop can be found emblazoned across the petition itself: Remember the slogan Stop, Revive, Survive......???