Truckies let down

*Published Midland Express: July 24, 2017

Livestock carriers are driving home the need for shower and wash amenities to be installed nearby Kyneton Saleyards’ well-used truck wash.

Drivers say most truck wash facilities have personal wash facilities on site or at least nearby, however, Kyneton has operated without since the 1980s.

Bloomfields Livestock’s Colin Bloomfield said the truck wash was one of the best in the state but the lack of personal hygiene facilities nearby was a letdown.

“There’s nothing worse than washing out your truck, getting covered in pig shit, and then having to sit in it in your truck for hours,” he said.

While the truck wash has generated $140,180 in revenue for 2016/17, Macedon Ranges Shire Council says these funds are reinvested in the operation and maintenance of the saleyards.

The 2016 Kyneton Saleyards Plan states the net operating result for the precinct has been positive for the past three years, however, removing the truck wash revenue and costs, it is estimated the saleyards facility itself has been running at a loss of about $20,000 to $60,000 per annum over the past seven years.

Council’s acting director of assets and operations, Anne-Louise Lindner, said upgrades and improvements to the truck wash over the past five years included the widening and extension of truck wash bays, drainage works, installation of water tanks, surface and waiting area upgrades.

An amenity block for transport workers is planned as part of an upgrade that now hinges on council’s application for a Federal Government grant, made in February and to be decided in August.

“It is estimated that $1.7 million is needed to complete the infrastructure upgrades identified in the grant application,” Ms Lindner said.

Subject to funding, the works would include roof, lighting and flooring upgrades, water-saving infrastructure, new fencing, walkways, upgrades to cattle loading ramps, new truck wash bays, parking areas, new signage, improvements to entry and exit points, and upgrades to amenities on site including showers and change facilities.

However, not all are convinced funds spent on the site have been well prioritised.

International truck driver Gary Newman questioned why it had taken so long for the council to take the step in creating a personal wash area.

“It comes back to a personal hygiene problem. We wash the inside of stock grades and get covered in shit,” he said.

“It’s unfair on the truck drivers – they are entitled to a shower every day and especially with our job. We’re out on the road, living from our trucks five days a week. It’s a basic essential.”

The Wagga Wagga driver has been on the road for more than 20 years and said it was time Kyneton’s facilities were “brought up to scratch”.

*Published Midland Express: July 24, 2017

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