Truckies face not being able to park vehicles at home
A council that sits astride the Bruce Highway has been accused of trying to drive out trucks with a "discriminatory" law that would add more fatigued drivers to the roads.
Mackay Regional Council has moved to make it harder for truck owners to park their vehicles on their own private property, even large rural blocks, a coalition of the trucking industry, AgForce and the Transport Workers' Union claim, saying it will cripple the sector the region relies on.
Under the local law, anyone living on a rural block would have to hide their trucks from view and only be allowed to come and go once a day between 6.30am and 6.30pm, the truck alliance says, and owners would have to put their vehicles in sheds costing at least $75,000 even before they add the cost of council planning approval, something mum-and-dad operations cannot afford.
The council has exempted its own vehicles, but thousands of others face having to get approval from all their neighbours in writing before applying for permission to park on their own land.
But Mayor Greg Williamson says the proposed new heavy vehicle law would protect truck owners who are doing the right thing from vexatious complaints from neighbours.
He said the council was still looking at submissions about the law, which would take at least six months before it hit the rulebooks.
The Queensland Trucking Association, Agforce and the TWU say in the letter to the council they are "implacably" opposed to the new law that unfairly targets truck owners and operators.
"These members of your community have invested in rural and other properties, so as to drive their work vehicles to their own home to park for convenience, security and minimise fatigue," they say.
"Now their work vehicles will be included in these new laws. This will include several thousands of vehicles which will not comply with the proposed laws.
"For owners/drivers/operators of any of these vehicles to be required to get permission from all neighbours within 50m of their boundaries including their name, address, and phone number could be as many as 20 neighbours, three neighbours each side, seven across the road and seven behind their property.
"That is 20 people to knock on the door of and get personal details and permission from to park your own vehicle on your own property, and then apply for and pay for a permit each year."
Trucking association chief executive Gary Mahon said the council already had laws to crack down on any drivers doing the wrong thing - such as parking on small blocks or leaving refrigerator motors going all night - without penalising the whole industry.
Truck and excavator owner Marshal Kronk, 70, said the new law could shut him down.
Mr Kronk does emergency on-call work for Ergon helping their crews restore power.
He built his home on a half-acre opposite the 24-hour Racecourse sugar mill because there was room to keep his vehicles without disturbing anyone.
Parking at home reduces fatigue - he can be loaded and moving in half an hour compared to two hours if he worked from the Mackay industrial estate - and a law banning him from leaving outside 6.30am and 6.30pm would shut down his business, Mr Kronk said.
"When they think of these laws they don't think ahead," Mr Kronk said.