Green councillor under fire over misreported 'cowboy' comments


Coffs Harbour newspaper issues correction over Graham call for greater policing of Pacific Highway

May 17, 2012

Coffs Harbour City Council saw some sparks fly recently when controversial Green councillor Mark Graham let his thoughts be known on trucks drivers and the Pacific Highway and the local newspaper misreported them.

The Coffs Coast Advocate
had reported that in response to the councils discussion on the NSW Governments Draft Long Term Transport Plan, Graham wanted an amendment calling for an increase on policing of heavy vehicles on the Pacific Highway.

Graham reportedly went on to say that the majority of truck drivers were "cowboys" and that residents feared for their lives when using the highway at night.

The Master Plan
has been calling for submissions and discussion papers since Feb 2012, with regional forums such as the meeting held in Coffs Harbour on April 26 being held until May.

The purpose of the
plan
is to determine transport infrastructure requirements and policy for the next two decades.

The final plan is due to be finalised by the end of the year.

The initial article caused an outcry from some local transport operators and the newspaper was forced to run a "clarification" on May 2.

The newspaper states that "he did not in fact say that the majority of truckies were cowboys".

A
transcript of the meeting quotes
Graham as saying that "The Pacific Highway is like the Wild West and the truckies are the cowboys."

He followed this up by saying that "many truckies act in a fashion that is really unacceptable".

The councillor was later quoted as stating: "It is not suggesting for a second (sic) that the whole industry is acting improperly, but it is suggesting that by dedicating policing resources to looking into heavy vehicles that we can achieve a safer outcome for our users of the Pacific Highway."

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