Border crossing clarity as TIC backs trucking


Move lauded but bodies call for support service ‘essential’ status

Border crossing clarity as TIC backs trucking
Queensland Police border patrol image

 

Freight transport has received the backing of the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC), reinforcing its essential service status, with more information emerging on the border entry procedures facing operators during the Covid-19 crisis.

"We, Australia’s Transport and Infrastructure Ministers, wanted to reassure Australians that supporting freight movements and supply of goods to individuals, businesses and service providers is a high priority for all governments," TIC, which comprises transport, infrastructure and planning ministers from the Commonwealth, states and territories, and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), says in a communique.

"Our freight and logistics sector starts at the border via our maritime and aviation routes.

"We then use rail and trucks to move substantial quantities of goods throughout the country, from ports and airports to the doors of individuals, businesses, and service providers.

"This includes recognition of the importance of all members of the freight distribution chain, from drivers, pilots, and engineers and others who support them, including those in the back-office working out rostering and logistics."

TIC adds all jurisdictions where restrictions are in place have provided exemptions to these measures to ensure Australia’s supply chains are maintained.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) reports that while freight is still able to move across state borders, there are procedures in place that must be followed:

  • Queensland: freight vehicles will be 'waved through' without requiring paperwork (originally a Queensland Entry Pass was required)
  • Tasmania: Those travelling to Tasmania for essential business (including freight and logistics) must complete a Tasmanian Arrivals Form
  • Western Australia: you must complete a WA Border Arrivals Form to provide at border checks which indicates your essential traveler status
  • South Australia: No attached paperwork but you may be asked to justify your ‘essential’ status if are spoken to by police at a border checking point. 
  • Northern Territory: Any person wishing to enter the NT must complete a border arrival form.

Alarm has been raised over the treatment of truck drivers during the virus


TIC says it is also working with industry and regulators such as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), to ensure any unnecessary barriers to freight movement are minimised.

SUPPORT SERVICE CALL

Earlier, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) called for an expansion of the scope of transport and logistics, such as the services that support it, to be regarded as essential, no matter what level of shutdown is imposed.

This includes:

  • truck, trailer and logistics equipment repair and related operations, including emergency breakdown support
  • truck, trailer and logistics equipment production and sales
  • service stations and roadhouses, with driver access to toilets and showers
  • freight and logistics, including postal services and post office boxes
  • home delivery services.

ATA chair Geoff Crouch also implores governments to not try distinguish between essential and non-essential freight, noting "this distinction is already causing problems in New Zealand".

His calls were backed by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA).

"Whilst the Government’s approach has been so far to list what is non-essential rather than define what is, this is the clearest signal from our nation’s decision-makers that they understand the importance of the entire freight supply chain," HVIA CEO Todd Hacking says.

"We are all dedicated to ensuring that our freight continues to help our communities in their hour of need.

"We need to ensure we are moving freight safely and we must ensure that regular scheduled maintenance continues.

"I know HVIA members are working around the clock to support our transport operators maintain a healthy fleet, both in terms of regular maintenance and emergency breakdown support.

"A truck broken down on the side of the road is no good to anyone in this situation.

"I also know there is anxiety in the industry; please continue to operate but be sure to be taking every precaution necessary."

 

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