TAMWORTH MP Kevin Anderson has hit back at truckies, who criticised a special permit for B-triple trucks to cart hay in to region to provide drought relief as “absolutely useless” due to a number of restrictions.
South Australian truck drivers raised issue with several of the permit’s restrictions, including a police escort through Gunnedah, only one trip a week per company and apply only to B-triples – many trucking companies are still operating with road trains.
While Mr Anderson said truck drivers he had spoke to were “very happy” with the arrangement, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator revealed it hasn’t issued any of the special B-triple permits for the Oxley Hwy between Gunnedah and Tamworth.
Mr Anderson clarified B-triples required a council escort, not a police escort, through Gunnedah.
“They have to call council on the way through and a council duty car will escort them through,” he said.
Mr Anderson also defended the decision to only allowed one B-triple trip per week.
“Think about it, if just 10 companies are bringing through multiple loads, that's a large number of trucks on our roads,” he said.
“The companies I’ve spoke to are very happy with the arrangement. They normally can’t get access at all, so they're very happy.”
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The Tamworth MP, who also serves as Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads, said the RMS decided what vehicles could travel where, and the permit only applied to B-triples for safety reasons.
“A lot of regulators are now saying heavy vehicles need tri-axle dollies,” he said.
“They provide more stability and safety.”
Truckie Alister Turner blasted the announcement and said it “wasn’t worth the paper it’s written on”.
“The politicians are making out like this is the greatest thing to ever happen,” he said.