Truck drivers call for uniformity across borders as COVID-19 pandemic bites

Truck drivers have called for a uniform approach to COVID-19 requirements between the states as they work during Australia's COVID-19 pandemic.

Long haul: Truck driver Rickie Benstead with wife Melissa, of Two Trees Transport.

Long haul: Truck driver Rickie Benstead with wife Melissa, of Two Trees Transport.

It comes as buying limits are imposed at supermarkets across the region as rising case numbers put pressure on supply chains and the transport and retail sectors.

Truckies are no longer required to provide a negative PCR test when they enter Queensland - a decision made after a national cabinet meeting last week.

But it is just one fewer test in an already gruelling driving schedule for drivers like Rickie Benstead, who heads to Western Australia every fortnight for Jimboomba's Two Trees Transport.

He called for changes to make it easier for truckies who are working country-wide.

"A national guideline is what we need, that all the state have," he said.

"One set of entry rules, and one permit, even if we had to update it on a weekly basis.

WA still requires a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, and a negative rapid antigen test conducted at the border.

That test could take up to 45 mins to get back, Mr Benstead said.

".. which then impacts on the time pressures for delivering freight to customers who rely on our services," he said.

"In South Australia, although the border checks are no longer in place, if we are randomly intercepted, we are still required to show a negative result within the last 72 hours."

Keeping up with constantly changing rules was tough, he said.

"It was becoming quite overwhelmingly frustrating trying to keep up with the different rules in every state. But once we knew what the rules were, it was quite simple to do the job," Mr Benstead said.

"The hardest part was trying to keep up with the constant and varying changes across states.

"We are literally putting food on tables and are quite often times, especially in WA, being treated like the sole carriers of the virus."

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the government was always examining the situation in the state.

"This is one step which will make it easier for them to work in Queensland, and we will continue to adjust the protocols to reflect the health situation," he said.

Coles introduced buying limits on meat and poultry last week, and expects the situation to last several weeks.

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