AS of yesterday, truck drivers entering Victoria from a high-risk zone will need to show evidence they’ve had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s part of tightened border restrictions, impacting freight and healthcare workers who re-enter Victoria.
As the deadline approached, a concerned Member for Mildura Ali Cupper asked for more to be done to address wait lists for the freight industry.
“I share the concerns of all of our trucking companies, that their staff have had difficulty accessing a vaccine due to their work hours,” Ms Cupper said.
“If they don’t get one in time, they can’t do their job – but despite the looming deadline, drivers aren’t being given priority access.
“Morale is already low in the industry, and we don’t need more workers pulling up stumps because they can’t meet the tight vaccination timeframe.”
Ms Cupper has requested more information from the State Government about the recently announced ‘priority postcode’ pop-up vaccination hubs, and whether they could help address the backlog.
“Four postcodes in and around Mildura have been announced as part of this project, and the pop-ups are supposed to address community need,” Ms Cupper said.
“Given how prominent freight is within our community, arrangements need to be made urgently to accommodate truckies.
“These workers needed to be able to get their jabs on time, and without walk-in or priority appointment arrangements, but doing so by deadline was is unlikely.”
At the time of expressing her concern there was only a week left for freight workers to get vaccinated and Ms Cupper believed the State Government might have to make concessions.
“Many drivers are willing to be vaccinated, but I fear they won’t be able to secure an appointment in the next seven days,” she said.
“Construction workers were also just been given a September 23 first-dose vaccination deadline, but proof-of-booking exemptions apply – our truck drivers should also be afforded the same option.”
Ms Cupper is also calling upon existing vaccination services to consider establishing a dedicated temporary service, to provide weekend or after-hours vaccination options.