Truck driver shortage not helped by over-zealous transport cops

by Jim O’Toole, Townsville bureau

While the Far Northern Queensland cane crop is in jeopardy due to a shortage of truck drivers there are at least 2000 truck driver vacancies across the state.

Transport compliance officers, or scalies,generally are despised throughout the transport industry because a number of over-zealous and officious officers have fined drivers off the road compounding the driver shortage.

Mossman sugar mill is offering $60 an hour for ABN holders yet is unable to attract enough drivers to get harvested cane from paddocks to the mill for crushing.

Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon told ABC Radio there is an unprecedented shortage of drivers across all industries.

He said there was tough competition throughout all industries and particularly from mining.

The $60 per hour rate offered by Mossman Mill is comparable to the coal industry and across mining generally so there have to be other reasons why younger people won’t take on a big rig.

Pull up at a truck stop and listen to drivers in the restaurant whose main topic of conversation usually is about ‘mermaids’ which refers to Main Roads Department compliance officers who generally are the more disliked than police by truckies.

We spoke to a soon-to-retire interstate driver, Graham, Townsville, who has plied the national highway for 30 years in singles and B-doubles.

He said a lot of drivers have been forced out of the industry over the past few years citing the Covid mandates as having the worst ever effect on company operators and owner-drivers who were forced to have a Covid vaxx before entering warehouses and freight depots.

“A lot of drivers refused and lost their jobs or contracts,” Graham said.

“Then there are the bloody Main Roads cops who make trucks easy targets for compliance checks of mainly log books and searching trucks for drugs,” he complained.

“If the scalies don’t like you or the company you work for they will fine you for anything at all. It doesn’t matter if they find nothing wrong with your truck or log book they will find or make up something.

“A friend last year lost his licence from (demerit) points because he stood up to bullying scalies when they couldn’t find anything wrong so he was fined for a spelling mistake and an wrong speedo calculation and the points went over the limit.

“He couldn’t drive for months so he left the industry. He had a family to support.”

Over-zealous transport cops have always been the scourge of the industry and in some cases deserve all the scorn poured upon them.

There had been cowboy drivers over the years “but there are few of them now days,” Graham said.

About Editor, cairnsnews

One of the few patriots left who understands the system and how it has been totally subverted under every citizen's nose. If we can help to turn it around we will, otherwise our children will have nothing. Our investigations show there is no 'government' of the people for the people of Australia. The removal of the Crown from Australian Parliaments, followed by the incorporation of Parliaments aided by the Australia Act 1987 has left us with corporate government with policies not laws, that apply only to members of political parties and the public service. There is no law, other than the Common Law. This fact will be borne out in the near future as numerous legal challenges in place now, come to a head soon.

Posted on September 20, 2022, in Agenda 2030, ALP, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Transport industry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Well, for a start, the truckies should start filming their encounters with the scalies and shaming them on Youtube. And then they need to figure out how to beat the fines in court and publish videos on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ALL THESE OFFICIOUS GRUB,S ARE CALLED PIG,S FOR A WELL DESERVED REASON. Power tripping they call it. extermination is well earned for these maggot,s


  3. daughter of the Most High

    My large town hasn’t had recycling bins emptied for a month now due, according to a council worker, staff shortages.


  4. Then there are the job vacancies that will never be filled by Australians thanks to the Australian Safe Schools Program.

    Two graduates demonstrate why they will never hold down any type of productive work of any description. Caution. Make sure your seat is in the upright position , your seat belt is fastened and your onboard luggage is stowed under your seat or in the overhead locker. Make sure your tray table is secured.. And you may need to have your complimentary barf bag at the ready.

    Proof the End is Near


  5. Check out the “imperial proclamations proclamations act”. and check out “DPP-v-Hamilton high court 2011.”


  6. ‘whole’ different playing field


  7. bano: The hoards of Truckies that have been a part of my life (along with friends growing up whose siblings were owner drivers or worked for ‘the man’), it’s my opinion that they’re “Free Spirits”, just like the seafaring fishers/trawlers etc, they can go the long haul with their own thoughts & company. When you say “unlike military personnel, whom are selected for their tendency to follow orders & comply”, nah, it’s a bit different, psych tests still determine the outcome placements, but one industry wants either more or less of the other. Have had family members in military since before birth & still now, also the free spirit wanderers/adventurer’s of seas, roads & outback country. Military is more about comradeship, putting your guts & soul into working as a team, they don’t all do what they’re told to do either by following insane orders. The Transport Copper & Scalie are a whole different breed, they’re determined to go the extra mile of arse#hole, they get off on putting their guts & soul into exerting power, it’s a while different playing field, as said before, hand picked


  8. Truck drivers have a tendency, by the very nature of their profession, to be free thinkers, unlike military personnel, whom are selected for their tendency to follow orders and comply


  9. Yep, fine after fine on top of fines$$$, most independent owner drivers going to the wall. So true that breaches can be a simple spelling mistake, I don’t mean getting ‘yes’ mixed up with ‘no’, a simple mistake or a small km mistake will nail the truckers balls against the wall, or the scalies just want to make your day sh#it as their bravado just doesn’t like you, ‘bad attitude with a gun’ & power. They’re hand picked, the scalies, same as transport copper’s, got one in my family, hand picked for attitude, hand picked from the result of a psych test, the more psychotic the better. Human nature dictates there’s always going to be rogue operators, but scalies take first prize for being unforgiving arse#holes. Transport & Scalies are a ‘special’ breed, ask any decent copper & they’d agree. How do I know this? Had an in-law (long dead now) was a trucker when I was a little nipper, same sh#it going on today was going on then. I worked in a govt office out west in my late teens to mid 20’s, worked for the Machinery Inspector, (Occupational Safety & Industrial Affairs those days) also worked for the Transport Inspector as well as Licensing, I was the only admin person in that office, front girl that dealt with sh#it on a daily basis, not from the public, from govt bureaucrats. Transport Inspector got hauled across the coals one day, he’d be privvy that the scalies were coming to town & he’d get on the blower & warn the Truckies about where the Mermaids would be, God bless his cotton picking soul. I’d heard the term ‘Mermaids’ from my inlaw trucker, but never understood what it meant, until I worked for those inspectors. When one inspector explained it I thought it made a lot of sense, considering the copper’s I’d come across that came through that little office straight from big smoke Brisbane to the highways around us & full of power tripping bravado. As it was explained to me, Mermaids, Cunt#s with Scales… Same now as it was way back then, some things never change

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Can you elaborate please. Ed


  11. I’d like to know more about the Dept of Defence’s movements.


  12. A fine can only be levied by a Judge or Magistrate in a court of competent jurisdiction. And a fine is compensation for injury to person or property, nothing else. If any “officer” issues a fine they can be charged with impersonating a Magistrate. How people, and the Queensland trucking Association in particular, are not au fe with these facts is beyond belief. I
    am going to call the QTA tomorrow and ask them WTF they have been doing all this time. And do not all these commenters know this? Sheesh!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I still remember how Australia was in the Sixties. – Not perfect but Australia was far ahead of many other countries. Fair go, Fair days work, have all the positive characteristics here in Australia Gone?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. those over zelous scalies need a good hiding, and put back in their place in my opinion

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Neville Thompson

    When I drove B Doubles during the 2006 Cane hauling season one of our fellow drivers was fined $300 for not having his licence on his person on the day he was pulled over even though our licences had been checked by our employer to be able to drive their trucks .
    I gave up driving in NSW in the mid 80’s because I was paying more out in fines than what I was earning doing overnight interstate , funny that log book fines were tax deductable .

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It seems we had this conversation a year ago. We either go to war against these fascists or we line up to die. Truck drivers are too divided to fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Better enlighten the youngsters, Mermaids = c…s with scales…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Truckies are a nuisance to the heavy equipment of the Dep. of Defence, which are being moved about the Far North in great numbers recently


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