A temporary COVID-19 testing facility will open in Queensland to support the freight and supply chain industry.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the new testing site was located at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Melaleuca Drive, Boondall and would be open seven days a week from 8am to 4pm.
Bailey, who extended his gratitude to all involved in supporting the rapid response, had been working closely with ASM Global, operators of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and 4Cyte Pathology to launch this truck-only COVID-19 testing site.
“I also thank Queensland Trucking Association and South East Queensland Hauliers for working with Transport and Main Roads to trial site access and arrangements for heavy vehicles to A-Doubles, he said.
“Our strong border rules are in place to keep Queenslanders safe, but we are also trying to support the freight industry which keeps our economy moving.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s strong health response has allowed us to deliver an economic recovery plan for Queensland, and this new testing facility will make it easier, and faster for truckies to get tested, keeping everyone safe.”
Bailey said the new Brisbane Entertainment Centre location would make a total of three dedicated heavy vehicle drive-through COVID-19 testing facilities, that were open and testing daily.
It is understood that plans for a fourth truck-only site was already underway.
Mandatory testing requirements started on 30 July, with heavy vehicle drivers who entered a declared COVID-19 hotspot or affected area being required to meet testing regimes under the QLD Freight Protocol.
Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government had rapidly responded to support the mandatory testing regime for freight and logistics drivers coming into and working around Queensland.
“Testing will help to keep our essential drivers, their families and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19, mandatory testing continues to be vital to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Government continues to work with industry to ensure supply chains remain strong, ensuring that freight operators transporting perishable products and livestock can keep supplies flowing across our borders.”
ASM Global Chairman and CEO Harvey Lister said they were pleased to help in the effort to keep supply chains strong and goods flowing across our border.
“We are delighted to be able to work with Transport and Main Roads to assist in this critical function at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre to keep Queensland moving,” he said.
Heavy vehicle operators are sometimes required to confirm a negative status through a PCR test up to three times a week.
Meanwhile it was not yet known the long-term fate of the draconian COVID testing regime after the National Cabinet, which issues mandatory testing requirements through the states, was ruled to be illegitimate as a federal cabinet by a Federal Judge last week.
The ruling by Justice Richard White found the National Cabinet neither a committee or sub-committee of the cabinet following proceedings launched in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in September by crossbench senator Rex Patrick, whose freedom of information requests relating to National Cabinet had been initially denied.
The ruling means the documents Patrick requested are not protected by the FOI Act.
“The mere use of the name ‘National Cabinet’ does not, of itself, have the effect of making a group of persons using the name a ‘committee of the Cabinet’” said Justice White.
White rejected the government’s argument the Prime Minister had the ability to determine what a cabinet committee was.
“This seemed tantamount to a submission that any committee may be a ‘committee of the cabinet’ for the purposes of the FOI Act merely because the prime minister of the day has purported to establish it as such. This premise is unsound,” he said.
“All the evidence provided to the tribunal concerning the establishment of the national cabinet was secondary in nature. That is to say, the tribunal did not receive evidence from any primary participant who could give first hand evidence of its establishment.”
Unless overturned, the decision will mean the Senate’s COVID committee will be able to seek access to information it has been refused on confidentiality grounds.