Phill, Kathy leave truckin life
TRUCKIES Phill Waterreus and his fiancée Kathy Nicholson have had enough of an industry they say they love and do not want to leave.
Now they are planning to get out of driving and start their own fish and chip shop, Barrier Reef Fish n Chips in their home town Mourilyan Harbour, east of Innisfail.
Meeting Big Rigs at Archerfield recently Mr Waterreus said he had been driving since he got his licence on March 21, 1970.
Over the past 43 years he has encountered speed limiters, national work diaries - that he said make you "work while you're tired and sleep when you're not" and cameras that "spy on your every move".
"I drove the first B-double test before they were on the roads. They've stuffed the industry, they were supposed to be depot to depot," an angry Mr Waterreus said.
"It's over zealous revenue raising law enforcement agencies that make you drive to a log book when you are tired and sleep when you are not. It causes a lot of accidents."
Back in the good old days, he said, you could sleep when you felt tired.
And he doesn't place much stock in the NHVR.
"We're getting fined more than a drink driver. What's more important, being half an hour over time, a spelling mistake or drinking and driving? Do they have their own task force?"
Ms Nicholson mirrored her fiancé's sentiments.
"I'm sad to leave, devastated. I love it with a passion," she said.
"It's sad to see the industry the way it is. My son is trying to get into the system. There's no consideration for those types of kids."
They say it is just too hard to stay in an industry they love.
Mr Waterreus said there would be no experience left in the industry as people started to leave.
"We've had a gutful," he said.
Now they hope to lead normal lives, with no more nights away from home.
"I'll still see my mates now and again," Mr Waterreus said. "I haven't got blood, I've got diesel."
Both the couple's fathers drove trucks and Mr Waterrerus' first truck was a Commer Knocker.
Back then they hand loaded wooden boxes of potatoes and bananas, there was no refrigerated transport in those days.
He doesn't blame new drivers for what's been happening, but big companies and called for apprenticeships.
"I'd like to thank everybody I've met in the industry. I love you all."