The National Farmers’ Federation had been concerned of reports of roadhouses shutting their doors to comply with COVID-19 mitigation requirements and the impact on truck drivers who needed to manage fatigue.
“Truck drivers are, as always, delivering food and other essential items to all Australians,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“We welcome the common sense decision by the National Cabinet in the interests of the safety of our drivers to mandate that roadhouses, dedicated truck stop facilities and truck driver lounges can remain open.
“The decision also speaks to agriculture and the food supply chain’s status of being an essential service in the nation’s response to COVID-19 crisis.”
The exemption will ensure that truck drivers can continue to rest, eat, shower, use restrooms and refuel before getting back on the road.
The NFF recognised the need to only apply the exemption where appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures could be maintained and the use of roadhouses will be strictly limited to heavy vehicle drivers.
“Truckies are the glue that sticks the whole supply chain together,” Ms Simson said.
“Their safety and wellbeing, in terms of driving and protection from COVID-19 has to be a priority.
“We thank the Government including Deputy Prime Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack and Assistant Minister for Road Safety & Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz for their work on this important issue.”