Trucker fierce after permit farce

The Duggan family.
The Duggan family.

THE owner of an Emerald-based trucking company stands to lose more than $400,000 after alleging he signed a contract based on "misinformation" given to him by the Central Highlands Regional Council.

Duggan Bulk Haulage owner John Duggan said the loss could break him personally and spell disaster for his business.

"It's a complete joke," he said.

After signing a contract to haul 50,000 tonnes of sand from Salmon's Quarry in Rubyvale to Caval Ridge Mine in Moranbah - the largest contract he has ever signed - Mr Duggan was informed by the council the Capella-Rubyvale Rd was now a B-double route only, and the permits council had been handing out for a number of years were "invalid".

At a council meeting last Tuesday, Mayor Peter Maguire said the discovery the council had no authority to hand out road train permits on its own road was a "real oddity".

Despite being a shire road, the Capella-Rubyvale route shows up on a Department of Traffic and Main Roads restriction map, and after seeking legal advice on the matter, the council was informed its permits had no authority.

A resolution was passed to advise all operators in the area the route would be a B-double route only.

Mr Duggan (pictured) said it was not good enough, and he contacted the council last year and was informed he didn't need a permit to run trains on the road.

"I've just signed the biggest contract of my life and it means I am going to lose over $400,000 because there's an extra 65km on the journey and you can't run 24 hours on the new route," he said.

"We even bought a new truck for the job."

Adding to the cost, Mr Duggan's wife and three children recently moved to the Gold Coast in order to access special treatment for his autistic daughter Maddy, which is costing him more than $100,000 a year.

He is not the only one who stands to lose out.

There are three quarries in the area, numerous cattle operations and coal exploration taking place for Rio Tinto's Valeria project.

Salmon's Quarry owner Sharon Salmon said road trains had been used on the route for more than a decade.

She feared it could become a costly mishap for many and hoped to work with the council to find a solution.

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