Fatality puts cloud on 'simple' scenario

Fatality puts cloud on 'simple' scenario

Beef
Lee Collett and Frank Benson, Rodney's Transport, Toowoomba, at the Roma Saleyards on Tuesday.

Lee Collett and Frank Benson, Rodney's Transport, Toowoomba, at the Roma Saleyards on Tuesday.

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FRANK Benson and Lee Collett say allowing type 2 road trains (triples) through to the Roma Saleyards from western routes would make their jobs significantly safer.

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FRANK Benson and Lee Collett say allowing type 2 road trains (triples) through to the Roma Saleyards from western routes would make their jobs significantly safer.

Mr Benson and Mr Collett work for Toowoomba-based livestock carrier Rodney's Transport. They support calls from the Queensland Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (QLRTA) to allow triples through Roma.

They believe it would remove many dangers associated with cross-loading cattle and decoupling trailers at sites like Butchers Hill, six kilometres west of Roma, where Injune father-of-three Joe Taylor was killed last Wednesday.

In August, 28-year-old Bryson Mayne died while cross-loading cattle at the Gracemere Saleyards outside Rockhampton.

Mr Mayne became lodged between a trailer and a semi-trailer.

He later died in the Rockhampton hospital, leaving behind his partner Amanda Golding and 18-month-old-son Wyatt.

Frank Benson said he had often noted the lack of lighting at the breakdown pad at Butchers Hill.

He said better facilities would make his job safer.

"In rainy weather and dark nights, it doesn't take much to slip and fall," he said.

"If we could bring them right through to here (the Roma Saleyards) we'd be able to unload with lights and you'd be able to see what you are doing."

Lee Collett said he believed it would be safe to drive triples through Roma despite a "couple of tight corners".

"There are tight corners in every town and triples go through them all the time," he said.

With more than 15 years' experience driving livestock trucks across western and southern Queensland, Mr Benson said it was upsetting to hear reports of fellow drivers killed on the job at breakdown pads.

"Especially with something that simple," he said.

"He was doing something that we do a million times a year when you think about it."

QLRTA president David Scott said only type 2 road trains carrying livestock - but not general freight - would be permitted through Roma under his proposal.

"Approximately 35 per cent of the triples that come to Roma from the west are carrying livestock and only about 15pc are unloading at the saleyards," he said.

"But those other livestock operators carrying on to feedlots and processors in the south-east would also be able to stop at the saleyards and safety unload and spell stock according to the best animal welfare practices."

Queensland Country Life contacted Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey on Monday.

However, he failed to respond before our print deadline.

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