Mick Bowden truck driver uses the Bruce HWY regularly
Mick Bowden truck driver uses the Bruce HWY regularly Renee Pilcher

Local cop wakes truckie in middle of night, tells him to go

GOOMERI BP is like home to truckie Mick Bowden.

He gets along with the staff like a house on fire and says it's a great place to stop when he needs a rest or a shower or a feed.

But he got the shock of his life when he was woken from his sleep by the town's police officer, who he said told him to turn his truck off, or move along.

Mick was shocked the officer's request, given that he'd parked in what he believed was a designated parking bay for heavy vehicles.

Not long after that incident, Mick received a letter from the officer in charge of the Goomeri Police Station, warning that the heavy vehicle pull-off and parking area provided by the Gympie Regional Council near the BP and Shell service stations on Moore St was for short term parking only.

"This enables drivers to stop for a meal break and use facilitates such as shower and bathroom facilities if provided," the letter read.

It went on to say that due to the "increased number of heavy vehicles parking overnight and the increased noise of generators and air conditioning and refrigerated containers for exceeding allowed parked vehicle decibel levels, that these road rules would be enforced as of July 1, 2018".

The letter stated that Moore St, Goomeri was a 50km built up area and that in accordance to the Queensland Transport Operations (Road Use Management - Road Rules) Regulation 2009, heavy motor vehicles could park in excess of one hour in a 50km built up area.

According to Queensland Police, that fine is $126.15.

The contents of the letter shocked Mick, because the parking bay had been there "long before I started (trucking)".

Truck driver Darren Anthony, who also regularly uses the truck stop during his runs, labelled the letter "ludicrous".

"There is nothing to say that we can't park there," he told Big Rigs.

"Where else can we go?

"We don't park in town, we park near the servo and the showgrounds.

"I don't understand what's going on."

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said: "Goomeri police had received a number of complaints from members of the community recently due to a large number of heavy vehicles parking overnight on Moore St, which is a 50km/h zone."

The spokesperson said the officer in charge wrote the letter to advise heavy vehicle operators of this and that fines may apply if they continued to park there.

However, a few days later after Big Rigs got involved, a second letter was issued by police, that appeared have offered up a compromise.

The letter, dated May 24, reiterated that the parking bay on Moore St was for short term parking only, however, said that "after consultation with truck drivers and operators it has been agreed initial enforcement will only be taken on vehicle's parking north of the initial parking bay situated on the Moore St, northbound lane after Hayden St, Goomeri".

In a win for the industry, the letter also stated that Goomeri police would petition council and Main Roads Queensland and seek support from the trucking industry and operators that a dedicated off-road truck parking area be created with adequate barriers and rubbish facilities for long haul drivers on the outskirts of town".

Queensland Trucking Association chief executive officer Gary Mahon said issues such as the parking at Goomeri cropped up all over the state.

"Our message generally across the country to all state governments and/or the national government is that they are very keen to legislate and enforce our driving hour restrictions and fatigue management and so forth, and quite rightfully so," he said.

"But what goes with that is providing reasonable opportunities to be able to rest.

"There's not a lot of others along that route.

"Just by the very fact that it's as popular as it is, tells you it's probably right on, or about, a break point for drivers heading north or south.

"You've got the other challenge then, if they've got to go another hour or two up the road, then they're going to be out of hours, or whatever the case may be."