Senator for Western Australia Glenn Sterle has again questioned the Morrison Government on access to rapid antigen self-testing COVID-19 kits not currently afforded truck drivers.
A former truck driver himself, Senator Sterle is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Labour.
He currently chairs the Senate Rural Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee.
Sterle again this week wrote to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Health saying that he is yet to receive a response from his initial letter of two weeks ago.
“Just over two weeks ago, I wrote to you all regarding the plight of our essential truck drivers and requested urgent action from you to allow drivers access to rapid antigen self-testing kits which can provide results in 15-20 minutes, eliminating the need to line up at testing centres where parking is an issue while trying to manage fatigue,” said Sterle in the letter.
“I am yet to receive a response or update as to whether my request has been acted upon.”
Like many in the industry, Senator Sterle is concerned with growing case numbers and the extension of lockdowns in several states and territories and the impact complicated and evolving restrictions were having on truck drivers.
“The rapid antigen self-testing kits must be made available to truck drivers now. I cannot stress the urgency of this enough. Especially with what we have seen happen in Mudgee in New South Wales over the weekend” Sterle noted.
The Senator was referencing news of a staff member at the Busy Bee Caltex in Mudgee NSW testing positive for COVID-19.
The service station is now closed for deep cleaning and people who checked into the site using their QR code will be contacted by NSW Health.
“Having a positive COVID-19 case at a service station frequented by truck drivers is extremely worrying. Our essential truck drivers don’t need the added pressure of having to wait for test results to come back when the system is already facing heavy delays,” said Sterle.
Senator Sterle’s letter is timely in respect to the hard lockdown at the Queensland-NSW border and the snap lockdown in the northern Territory.
“Once again, I implore you to give serious consideration to my request and give truck drivers access to the rapid antigen self-testing kits now,” he wrote in the open letter.
“The health and the livelihoods of our essential truck drivers relies on you taking urgent and required action.”