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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.

Heavy vehicle blitzkrieg to kick off in May, according to federal ministers McCormack, Buchholz and the NHVR


Not only are each state’s truck tyrants after owner drivers and independents now the LNP and Labor’s federal troopers are lining up along the road to go through your truck.

Do the Linfox or Toll trucks qualify for this unnecessary intrusion into the country’s hard-pressed, independent transport operators battling unchecked fuel prices while they go through the roof again?

Roadside terrorists about to slap a book-full of unlawful fines on a truckie

It will be off the road for a stated, minimal 45 minutes for large fleet-owners and ten to one the owner operators will get many hours penance and huge fines if not put off the road altogether.

This bureaucratic overplay is a result of thousands of chair polishing idiots sitting in parliament house without any gainful production other than to devise ways of cruelling the nation’s crucial transporters. Naturally at the behest of the magnates.

There should be another nationwide halt of every truck for 48 hours or however long it takes to stop the strangling of independent operators and to get excessive government out of industry.

Assistant minister for road safety and freight transport Scott Buchholz said:

“From next month the NHVR will undertake the second National Roadworthiness Survey, which will check the mechanical health of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet.

“Authorised officers from the NHVR and partner agencies across Australia will conduct a mechanical inspection of 8,000 heavy vehicles including trucks, buses and other special purpose vehicles.”

‘Mermaids’ in action

 Australian farmers have long complained they are the most over-regulated industry on earth, but the authoritarian LNP/ALP duopoly wants to outdo its road train loads of shocking, costly farm regulations with an all out assault on truckies already overburdened with the most complicated, convoluted transport regulations on earth.

The roadside troops have long modeled themselves on the SS, tearing truck cabins and loads apart without any accountability leaving distraught drivers with a spelling mistake in their log books thousands of dollars worse off and accruing so many demerit points on their licences they can no longer drive, thus dysfunctioning as a breadwinner for their families.

Sooner or later the corporate system of Australian government will collapse under the enormous weight of its unconstitutional, fascist-styled policies.

The United States corporation is in its death throes making way for President-elect Donald Trump to re-emerge and to restore constitutional sanity to Capitol Hill.

Australia, legally as the 52nd state of America will simply fall into line.

Another Marxist initiative by the comrades of the Queensland Labor Party:

Barron River Bridge out of action for several years. New Highway will have to be built

Local News

by staff writers

Far North Queensland motorists should not expect relief anytime soon from the single lane and permanent traffic lights installed on the Barron River Bridge at Kuranda.

Cairns News can reveal The Main Roads Department has secured traffic controlling companies on a contract for five years while engineers attempt to repair significant structural damage to the 60 year-old concrete and steel bridge.

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Ron Reddicliffe inspect the massive girders under the ailing Barron River bridge

We can further report that a consultant has been appointed to investigate the proposed new Reddicliffe Track which leaves the Kennedy Highway east of Davies Creek direct to Redlynch Valley, a distance of 18 kilometres.

The new road will not cross any major rivers or creeks and is a simple ‘cut and fill’ construction. Proponents of the new road including the Member for Kennedy Bob Katter have asked the state government to excise a 100 metre-wide easement through the State Forest direct to Crystal Cascades Road where the new road emerges.

The easement has been designed to cater for a new railway line to pick up the existing line at the Freshwater Valley loop. Stage two of the new road would see construction of a railway line directly to Biboohra from where the new road intersects the Kennedy Highway. This new line would pick up the existing line at Biboohra then to Mareeba.  It would exclude the Kuranda Range rail line and tunnels.

The estimated cost of the new road at under $200 million, would be an extension of Highway One, and should be borne largely by the federal and partially by the state governments, according to Mr Katter.

The new rail link would allow Cairns garbage to be railed direct to the waste facility at Arriga, taking smelly trucks off the highway and off the main street of Mareeba.

Pushing the TMR to start the road is Mareeba miner and earthmover Ron Reddicliffe. He said the proposed  road alignment has been known by the state government going back to when Martin Tenni was the local member.

“Martin asked me 30 years ago if I would find a new route to Cairns which I did then he asked me to build it,” Mr Reddicliffe said.

“I told him I would start it as soon as he coughed up some money, but the money never came.”

As we reported on January 19 the bridge structure will be undergoing expensive, lengthy repairs and motorists would have to endure often long delays to cross the river.

It should be stressed the poor condition of the bridge is no fault of TMR or the current government due the age of it.

The state government has found itself between a rock and a hard place and has no option but to build a new road to Cairns, deviating from the tortuous, dangerous Kuranda Range Road which sees hundreds of motor vehicle accidents each year as well as a climbing death toll for cassowaries and other wildlife from vehicle impacts.

What can be blamed on successive governments is the lack of foresight in providing another arterial road to Cairns Airport and the Cairns Port from the Tablelands and a safer route for local drivers and the many thousands of tourists who travel to the Tablelands and Peninsula every year.

Barron Bridge report too technical for motorists; one lane to remain on unsafe structure

Local News

A long-awaited report on the condition of the Barron River bridge at Kuranda won’t be released to the public because it is “too technical” according to Transport and Main Roads Department (TMR).

Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter has attacked this bureaucratic double-speak saying motorists had a right to know if the bridge is safe to use and for how the single lane access and weight restrictions will remain.

“Either it is safe, or it is not safe, and it certainly looks like it is not when we get a response like this,” Mr Katter said.

“It’s time for the State Government to build the alternative road to Cairns – the Bridle Track highway. We have given TMR a topographical map of the proposed road and I have discussed this proposal with them and the Federal Government’s Assistant Transport Minister, Scott Buchholz. There is now no alternative.”

Mr Katter will be writing to the Qld Transport Minister, Mark Bailey regarding the Bridge.

“I will demand a copy of the report,” Mr Katter said.

“We are being treated as mugs in North Queensland. The State Government would not be keeping Brisbane residents in the dark like this, and they would be spending money to fix the situation. They are now estimated to spend $7B on Brisbane’s Cross River Rail[1], meanwhile we are down to one lane at the Kennedy Highway at Kuranda with no action from the State Government in sight.”

Mareeba comes of age with a massive traffic jam

Local News

Today the farming town of Mareeba, to the west of Cairns with a population of 15,000, came of age. The first permanent traffic lights ever seen on the Atherton Tablelands were turned on this afternoon but the traffic outcome was not what The Main Roads Department had expected.

Costing $3.47 million, the new lights at the Byrnes and Rankin Street intersection were predicted to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

A large traffic jam, an unusual sight in Mareeba, 60 klms west of Cairns was caused by new traffic lights

Instead a traffic jam of Rodeo Procession proportion saw cars and trucks backed up for more than one kilometre along the main thoroughfare of Byrnes Street for more than an hour, coinciding with school departures at 3pm.

Mareeba Shire Council has had almost no involvement with the construction of the lights and the new intersection as Byrnes St is the responsibility of TMR.

Residents and business proprietors have questioned why traffic lights replaced a large roundabout  when a gazetted but unmade vehicle bypass skirts the CBD which would alleviate the extremely high volume of traffic movements along Byrnes Street.

Katters Australian Party spokesman for FNQ Alan Webb said the bypass should have been constructed a decade ago removing the need for traffic lights and taking large trucks out of the main street.

“These single semitrailers carrying Cairns garbage, soon cane trucks and heavy trucks traveling to the west and north every day are an accident waiting to happen,” Mr Webb said.

“I know (Member for Kennedy) Bob Katter has been in talks with TMR in Cairns and federal authorities in Canberra about funding for the bypass but neither the state government nor the federal government want to know about it.”

New traffic lights caused a massive traffic jam more than one klm long in Mareeba. According to Katters Australian Party, a heavy vehicle bypass would be a better option said spokesman Alan Webb.

Mareeba mother, Ann-Marie Keating was quite worried when it took the school bus an extra 40 minutes to go past the gate to their small farm, 6 klms from town.

“I had picked up the kids from school because of the traffic and it took me over 40 minutes to get home instead of 15  and the bus was just behind me,” Ms Keating said.

“On Monday I don’t know if the bus will come early to get the kids to school on time. The kids will have to get up early to make it then if it is 40 minutes late again it will be a long day for them.

“It could be a very long day on the bus for kids from further out.

“There were temporary traffic lights set up at Centenary Park and Anzac Avenue intersection that made the congestion worse than Cairns.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui has been contacted for comment.


by Robert J Lee




 Cape York Land Council takes control of the Peninsula Development Road on Cape York Peninsula.

Cape York Land Council says the $210 million Mein Deviation road job near Weipa can start

The prospect of Northern Development hailed by the Federal Government as the panacea for northern Australia has been placed on the back foot after the State Government and the Cape York Land Council signed an agreement allowing the Land Council to control the Peninsula Development Road, the main arterial access to Cape York.

The Land Council claims it wants jobs for local community residents but some Cape Traditional Owners, businessmen and pastoralists believe it to be a “greedy land grab for the few at the top of the CYLC” that will not benefit most struggling communities.

There will be more of the traditional CYLC ‘jobs for their boys’ who in most cases are never local indigenous businesses. Richie AhMat, Gerhardt and Noel Pearson are in bed with the big boys and their predictions of jobs for  Peninsula indigenous contractors like most of their other failed, expensive schemes will also fail local businesses, contractors and the long-suffering community resident.


Gerhart Pearson

Noel Peason

Noel Peason


Ritchie AhMat

The state and federal governments have rolled over to the unrepresentative CYLC yet again. Next comes the new Aboriginal state of Cape York above the 16th Parallel with the TOLL gates set at Laura or Lakeland.


Every local authority in the nation should be terrified about the hijacking of this vital state government-owned road that is the only land access to important northern defence facilities and the major mining town of Weipa.

Meanwhile September is a few days away and the wet season a few months away.  Starting such major roadworks near Weipa that should have begun in May will be a disaster for the unlucky contractor, soon to be announced.

And the annual $25 billion Aboriginal industry, taxpayer feeding frenzy continues for CYLC and Balkanu…….. 

Meetings to discuss Cape York issues to be held soon

flyer-1A series of meetings about the Penisula Development Road will be held next week across Cape York Peninsula.

Contact: – (07) 40532856

Meeting Dates:

Cooktown Monday 3rd August 5.30pm – 7pm Sovereign Resort

Coen Hotel Wednesday 5th August 4.00pm – 5.30pm

Lakeland Hotel Monday 3rd August  2.00pm – 3.30pm

Laura Tuesday 4th August 10am – 11.30am Quinkan Hotel

Lockhart River Church Hall Tuesday 11th August 10am – 12.30pm

Loyalty beach camp ground and fishing lodge Friday 7th August 5.30pm – 7pm

Musgrave Roadhouse Tuesday 4th August 3.30pm – 5pm

Weipa Albatross Bay Resort Tuesday 6th August 5.30pm – 7pm

Warren-EntschIt would seem Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch has been fence sitting over this issue and continues to ignore the voice of the people. He may have started his own political demise with voter anger reaching boiling point in North Queensland.


Gerhardt Pearson Facebook Source:

 Landmark agreement paves way for Peninsula Development Road

Published on Facebook – 29 July 2015

THE Cape York Land Council today signed an important agreement which paves the way for the start of construction on the Mein Deviation and other sections of the Peninsula Development Road, known as the PDR.

Under this agreement, the Queensland Government and Native Title Holders will now begin negotiations to settle an Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the whole of the PDR by the end of 2015. These negotiations follow the lodgment and registration of one of Australia’s largest native title claims earlier in the year, over Cape York.

Chairman of the Cape York Land Council, Mr Richie Ah Mat, said the Department of Transport and Main Roads could now finalise contract arrangements for construction to commence next week.

“There has been a mammoth effort by the Queensland Government and the Cape York Land Council to settle these outstanding matters over the last two months and our meetings over the last two days have endorsed our approach,” he said.

The agreement addresses Indigenous employment, training and business opportunities, cultural heritage clearance processes and environmental considerations.

“On Cape York, where the Indigenous community is battling very high unemployment, high incarceration rates and alcohol and drug abuse, projects such as the PDR are critical in providing opportunity to our mob,” said Mr Ahmat.

“This is a great example of the State Government recognising the Native Title and cultural interests of Traditional Owners to maintain respectful ongoing relationships to carry the PDR to completion.”

Under the agreement, a Traditional Owner steering committee has been established that will guide the settlement of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Queensland Government.

Mr Ahmat said that it was very important for Traditional Owner groups to work together on major linear projects such as the PDR. “An important principle of the Native Title claim has been that Traditional Owners speak for their country,” he said.

“Prior to the settlement of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement, there will need to be further discussions with Traditional Owners from along the road route”.

Southern Kandju and Negotiating committee member, Dion Creek, praised the agreement.

“For the first time, the State Labor Government, Cape York Land Council, and Traditional Owners have respectfully negotiated a single agreement covering the PDR,” he said.

“There can be no longer be any excuse for our people to remain on the sidelines, when it comes to capitalising on investments for the PDR and other road networks throughout Cape York.

Mr Creek said that PDR investments specified in the agreement would be used to increase the capacity of Indigenous people, through the provision of training and employment, enterprise facilitation and the commitment to support local business.

“We have a jobs crisis in Cape York,” he said. “It is a priority we must address


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