Putting truckies in the driver’s seat on plans for heavy vehicle rest area in Western Sydney
The NSW Government has begun work to deliver a heavy vehicle rest area in Sydney for truck drivers to rest, park, shower and access services.
Currently there are very limited rest areas that are fit for purpose for truck drivers between Pheasants Nest to the south of Sydney and Wyong to the north – a distance of 180km and nearly 2 hours driving.
There are other minor rest areas that provide single direction opportunity to stop but have limited facilities, including some with no toilet and wash facilities or capacity to host larger trucks.
This means truck drivers need to take significant detours off the motorways in order to take a break.
The NSW Government is calling for feedback from the freight industry and truck drivers to inform the development of the new proposed rest area for Western Sydney. This area will provide heavy vehicle drivers with a safe and accessible area to rest as part of their journey.
Roads are the workplace for heavy vehicle drivers, and rest areas are important facilities that support driver wellbeing and compliance with mandatory rest breaks.
Options for a rest area are being considered across 6 local government areas: Blacktown City, Penrith City, Fairfield City, Liverpool City, Camden and Campbelltown City.
Transport for NSW will be engaging with the road freight industry and heavy vehicle drivers, including the potential location, services and facilities, as well as consideration of oversize and dangerous goods requirements.
Heavy vehicle drivers and the road freight industry are invited to participate in an online survey to provide their insights and advice.
Have your say. Consultation will be open until Sunday 1 October 2023.
The NSW Legislative Council Transport and Arts Committee has also commenced a parliamentary inquiry into pressures on heavy vehicle drivers. The inquiry will explicitly consider how these pressures impact on the use of rest areas and other fatigue management practices.
To make a submission to the parliamentary inquiry visit the NSW Parliament website.
Submissions to the inquiry will be accepted until Monday 18 September 2023.
NSW Minister for Roads John Graham said:
"Truck drivers have said to me Sydney is the least friendly city for truckies on the east coast. That’s partly because there is nowhere to rest. We are determined to change that.
"We are committed to providing a new heavy vehicle rest area in Sydney for truckies travelling the 2 hours between Pheasants Nest and Wyong.
“Truckies are the backbone of our economy; we all rely on our goods getting to us in a timely, efficient, and safe manner.
“Current arrangements are simply not good enough for drivers, and we are working with the industry to do better.
“The Western Sydney area needs more parking facilities so our truckies can rest, stage their longer journeys, or if they are early for their timeslot and simply need a place to park.”
Member of the Transport and Arts Committee Dr Sarah Kaine MLC said:
“The parliamentary inquiry is examining the pressures on heavy vehicle drivers. This is a critical issue as freight volume are expected to rise 56% by 2061 in Greater Sydney alone.
“There has been decades-long research into the relationship between pay and conditions and wellbeing of heavy vehicle drivers and mortality rates, for not just heavy vehicle drivers but also other road users. Understanding the pressures on heavy vehicle drivers in NSW is a step in the right direction to decreasing the fatalities in this industry, and our community.”
“This year alone there have been 28 fatal vehicle crashes resulting in 40 fatalities in NSW. A large body of established research shows the wellbeing and pay and conditions of truck drivers is intimately linked to safe driving and reducing fatalities on our roads – providing adequate rest areas has an important part to play in the wellbeing of drivers.
“We look forward to helping shape a positive way forward for drivers and the industry.
“Western Sydney is the perfect spot to service the industry due to its proximity to major freight routes across Sydney, connecting the north-south, east-west axis between ports and where freight needs to go.
“A new rest stop would remove semi-trailers parked in Western Sydney streets and would also provide essential facilities between Pheasants Nest and Wyong where there are limited rest stops for truckies.”