Livestock

Tragedy at Gracemere Saleyards was waiting to happen

Emergency services responded to the CQLX Gracemere Sale Yards where a man sustained a head injury in a workplace accident. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Emergency services responded to the CQLX Gracemere Sale Yards where a man sustained a head injury in a workplace accident. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

IT'S not the first time David Scott has heard of accidents involved in cross loading cattle.

In fact, they're a lot more common than many would like to think.

But the president of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland said the death of young Bryson Mayne at the Gracemere Saleyards was a tragedy waiting to happen.

Cross loading is one of the most dangerous activities in the cattle transport chain, but it's a necessity for drivers of road trains who legally cannot drive direct to the meatworks through Rockhampton.

Mr Scott said this is a common problem across CQ, including his base of Roma.

"We've been pushing for some time to get access to Type One (road trains) through to JBS and Teys, or having suitable cross loading facilities built in areas," he said.

"They can fit, it's just the government won't make the turning lanes suitable to fit."

Rockhampton Deputy Mayor Tony Williams said there have been a number of trials over the years with type one road trains driving through town to access processing plants off Lakes Creek Rd.

Cr Williams said road trains cause a bigger problem in traffic than B-Double trucks because they take up more room when they turn, cutting off traffic in other lanes in the process.

At the Gracemere Saleyards trucks are able to bring in two trailers of cattle and unhook one in a designated area.

They are then allowed to drive through Rockhampton to the meatworks and unload the first trailer, before returning to the saleyards to cross load the second lot from the waiting trailer into the truck.

Bryson's accident happened while he was cross loading cattle between two trucks, after he returned from his first trip to the meatworks.

He sustained critical head injuries after reportedly becoming crushed between his B-Double truck and the other trailer.

As part of an assessment about 18 months ago pilot vehicles escorted road trains through the city and found accessing the Fitzroy River Bridge to get onto Lakes Creek Rd was impractical.

AgForce has requested infrastructure be redeveloped to accommodate these road trains, and AgForce Central regional manager Frank Murray said they've been lobbying for this for a long time.

He said in the last week the director general for Transport and Main Roads was in Rockhampton to meet with them and look at a number of transport issues in CQ, particularly how to transport cattle direct to meatworks.

"Meatworks and the beef industry is a big part of Rockhampton … we need to ensure it is sustainable, it's safe and of course it's embraced by people in Rockhampton."

Apart from the safety aspects, Mr Murray said it would be better for the animals, would save time and therefore money, and would also mean fewer trucks would travel through town.

He said based on discussions in the last week he was optimistic developments would go forward.

Topics:  accident gracemere saleyards livestock trucks



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