First meeting of the Heavy Vehicle Rest Area steering committee puts drivers front and centre

The Heavy Vehicle Rest Area steering committee held its first meeting in Canberra last week. 

This committee, which is chaired by Senator Glenn Sterle, is a first for the government and for the department.

The meeting held last week was the first time that truck drivers have been at the table directly informing decisions that will impact their work through increasing access to new or improved heavy vehicle rest areas.

The four industry representatives and five truck drivers discussed their priorities for the roll-out of the government’s $140 million commitment to the building or upgrading of rest areas for heavy vehicles.

The committee is working on the guidelines for the funding program.

They aim to have the guidelines finalised in coming months so that state, territory and local governments can start applying for funding for heavy vehicle rest area projects by the middle of this year.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Carol Brown:

“Having truck drivers at the table involved in the delivery of our rest areas election commitment was a key part of the announcement made by Minister Catherine King and Senator Glenn Sterle during the 2022 election.

“It was a real privilege to attend part of the first day of the committee’s meeting. The shared knowledge and experience of members of the committee will deliver heavy vehicle rest areas in the most efficient locations.”

Quotes attributable to the Steering Committee Chair, Senator Glenn Sterle:

“Heavy vehicle drivers are vital for keeping our country running. I’d like to think that thanks to the pandemic and recent natural disasters the Australian community has a much greater appreciation of the role they play in keeping our economy and local communities going.

“During the pandemic our truckies worked around the clock to ensure people across the country continued to receive the things they needed to keep them safe and well. 

“Following the floods in Fitzroy Crossing, truckies took on the challenge of driving an extra 4,500 kilometres to get supplies to flood affected communities.

“The committee is hoping to hear directly from truckies about where they think there are gaps in the rest area network.”