THE Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the National Cabinet have approved an exemption for roadhouses, dedicated truck stop facilities and truck driver lounges to remain open so Australia’s heavy vehicle drivers have access to showers, restrooms and facilities to undertake their mandated fatigue management breaks.
Due to recent COVID-19 restrictions that apply to roadside eateries, truck driver lounges and rest stops have closed, leaving truck drivers with nowhere to eat, rest and go to the bathroom.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the trucking sector is playing a critical role in Australia’s response to COVID-19.
“Our truck drivers are transporting everything from supermarket supplies and fuel to vital medical equipment and medicine to where it is needed across Australia,” Mr McCormack said.
“We have heard their concerns loud and clear and this is a common sense solution which ensures heavy vehicle drivers have access to essential amenities, can take regular breaks and eat properly whilst delivering their vital cargo.
“Roadside service stations, roadhouses and truck driver lounges provide a vital function allowing truck drivers to eat, shower, use restrooms, refuel and rest comfortably before resuming their work – which is critical for them to continue efficient and safe freight distribution across the country.”
“I thank the AHPPC and the National Cabinet for agreeing to these common-sense changes for the benefit of our truckies.”
The exemptions will only apply to facilities where appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures can be maintained and the use of roadhouses will be strictly limited to heavy vehicle drivers.