The Queensland government has rolled out temporary COVID-19-testing facilities to support a new mandatory testing regime for freight and logistics drivers driving through the state.
The state government introduced a scheme for mandatory COVID testing of truckies arriving into Queensland and driving around the state from the end of July.
Under a new operational protocol, Heavy vehicle drivers who have entered a declared COVID-19 hotspot or affected area are required to get tested. Freight and logistics operators entering Queensland with perishable goods or livestock have a class exemption from the regime until 1am on 9 August.
“These are challenging times for everyone and the freight industry has continued to step up to meet the additional requirements that have been asked of them since the pandemic began,” transport and roads minister Mark Bailey said.
“We will keep working with industry to ensure freight operators transporting perishable products and livestock can keep supplies flowing across our borders.
“It is more important than ever to know exactly what is required, including the border passes and documentation heavy vehicle drivers need to enter Queensland.”
From Friday a new testing site at the BP petrol station in Charlton will be testing truck drivers in the Toowoomba region.
An additional drive-through testing site was established at the Port of Brisbane on 30 July. According to the minister between 80-100 truck drivers are tested at the site every day since it opened.
And another three heavy-vehicle testing sites have been set up in Acacia Ridge, Boondall and Robina to test the drivers of vehicles including prime movers without trailers, light and heavy rigid trucks.
The minister said freight workers helped to deliver essential goods vaccines throughout Queensland, ‘keeping supply chains strong’.
“Transport and Main Roads has worked closely with QML Pathology, Queensland Health, the BP at Charlton and the Port of Brisbane Authority to provide truck-only, accessible, testing facilities,” Bailey said.
“The heavy vehicle industry ensures shop shelves remain stocked and lifesaving vaccines reach their destination, so I thank them for continuing to work with us.”
Gary Mahon, CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association, said it was a relief for drivers using the major freight route through Charlton that the testing site was now available.
“We know the pressure on drivers to comply with mandatory testing is rising, and the opening of this testing facility will be very much welcomed by the industry,” Mahon said.
“We will continue to advocate for common sense solutions and support drivers to perform their essential role and keep freight moving around the country.”
Bailey also thanked health workers from QML Pathology who were manning the testing sites seven days a week.
He added that by mid August, another dedicated truck-driver COVID testing site should be operational in North Brisbane.
“We’re continuing to work with industry and pathology providers to identify more COVID-19 testing site options that are suitable for heavy vehicles,” the minister said.