Trucker convoy hits Barton Highway

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LOCAL NEWS: More than 200 trucks camped in Yass overnight in preparation for Sunday’s convoy into Canberra to campaign against changes to owner driver pay rates legislation.

A total of 220 truckies registered to take part in the event, some coming from as far away as Perth, Townsville, Brisbane and Adelaide.

There were also several local families who joined the convoy.

The Australian Trucking Association convoy aimed to raise awareness of the plight of owner drivers who feel they have been priced out of the market thanks to a new pay regime introduced by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

The Trucker's convoy extended 10km when leaving Yass Show Ground on Sunday morning. PHOTO: Dave McDonald.

The Trucker’s convoy extended 10km when leaving Yass Show Ground on Sunday morning. PHOTO: Dave McDonald.

They argue the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) favours larger trucking companies and forces self employed truckies to charge 30 per cent higher than the current market rate.

Convoy organiser Gordon Mackinlay told Scoop, “It penalises owner drivers. It forces us to charge a minimum rate and not be able to compete against company trucks, who are free to charge whatever they like”.

“It’s allowing the large companies and multiple truck companies to charge whatever the market will bear, but forcing us to charge unrealistic rates, about 30 per cent higher than the current market rate.”

The protest was planned to coincide with the resumption of parliament on Monday.

The trucks camped at Yass Show Ground and Yass Service Centre on Saturday night, travelling to Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) on Sunday via the Barton Highway, turning a loop around State Circle near Parliament House.

On Monday morning the convoy continued with about 40 trucks travelling from EPIC to Capital Hill.

Trucks lined Yass Valley Way bumper to bumper for 10km from the Yass Show Ground to the Barton Highway roundabout on Sunday, providing quite a spectacle for other motorists.

“We decided that we needed to go to Canberra and thought the best place to meet up was Yass,” Mr Mackinlay said.

“Yass was a pretty natural selection from my mind because Yass had always been a pretty big part of the transport industry [as the junction of four highways] and we all have a lot to do with Yass from time to time.

“The Show Society was fantastic and it [the route] gave us a decent drive from Yass into Canberra and gave us a lot of exposure for so many kilometres.”

He said the response from other motorists and the Yass community had been positive.

“This is putting a lot of truckies out of their own businesses and into financial ruin.

“The general public’s behaviour towards us seems to be very positive and happy. Anyone who has read anything into this order is shocked at how bad it is.”

Organisers are hoping to pressure MPs into overturning the tribunal’s order.

Trucks lined the Barton Highway for 10kms into EPIC in Canberra. PHOTO: Michelle Apps

Trucks lined the Barton Highway for 10kms into EPIC in Canberra. PHOTO: Michelle Apps

Michelle and Terry Appsdrove their yellow rigid tipper (pictured) during Sunday's convoy into Canberra. PHOTO: Michelle Apps

Michelle and Terry Apps supported the protest with their yellow rigid tipper (pictured) during Sunday’s convoy into Canberra. PHOTO: Michelle Apps

Katharyn Brine

Editor / Publisher

2 Comments

  1. Andrew Neumann

    April 20, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Hi guy’s I and many others were looking forward to the second print issue of scoop yass valley . It never arrived at the Yass news agency.

    • Katharyn Brine

      Katharyn Brine

      April 20, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Thanks for your support Andrew. No, unfortunately the print edition won’t be coming out, there’s a timing issue. Really do appreciate you wanting to support it, thank you.

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