UPDATE @ 7.15 AM | The trucks that blocked the M1 southbound in a ‘Freedom of Choice’ rally this morning have now moved on, and will likely be arrested.
Two trucks blocked both lanes through Reedy Creek around 6.00 am on Monday, grinding traffic to a halt in order to make a point.
One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts were there as well, talking to the media and supporting the protest.
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Police were able to divert traffic for a period of time, but many motorists were trapped on the motorway for longer than an hour.
A number of protestors then also gathered on the side of the M1.
However, Queensland Trucks Association CEO Gary Mahon told the ABC they did not support the protest action.
“We absolutely do not support this type of action.
“We’re a professional industry, and if we’ve got issues with decisions that the government might make, we take them forward professionally and advocate our cause.
“We don’t endorse this sort of action at all.
“There had been a talk over the weekend in particular that this sort of action may have been brewing and we had been talking to authorities about it.
“It seems that the message trying to be carried by some individuals is an anti-vax message.
“We’re not sure how involved an anti-vax movement might be in all of this, but it’s generally a push about being resistant to vaccination for the course of their work.
Mr Mahon is concerned this will tarnish the hard work of truckies around the country over the last year and a half.
“It’s been a magnificent effort by the industry over the last 18 months, they’ve undertaken everything they need to do, all the testing, a bit of vaccination, even though it’s not mandatory,” Mr Mahon told the ABC.
“And in all that time, there’s only been a couple of incidences, where there’s been a positive detection. And the most recent one, out there at St George, they turned out to be false negatives,” he said.
The M1 has since returned to normal after the trucks were finally moved on.
It’s understood that both the truck drivers involved are now facing charges by police, with both agreeing to be arrested over their actions.
Gold Coast Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman told the ABC that this was not a peaceful protest, and action will be taken.
“The disappointing part about this morning is that obviously, they closed off two southbound lanes, the whole M1 southbound was closed for approximately 45 minutes.
“And of course, the traffic is banked up. Now in amongst that could have been emergency vehicles, and that could be a great concern.
“So it’s not just the impost on the public, but there’s a bigger picture in this around the possibility of putting lives at risk which is really disappointing.
“We had a plan in place and we rolled that plan out, all we were waiting for was the heavy vehicle towing capacity to turn up and remove those vehicles.
“But we are investigating, and action will be taken against those drivers at a later point,” Acting Chief Superintendent Wildman said.
EARLIER @ 6.00 AM | DRIVERS are being urged to avoid the M1 this morning as a truck protest grinds traffic to a halt.
The ‘Freedom of Choice Rally’ began around 6am on Monday.
The drivers are calling for the rules surrounding mandatory vaccines for essential workers to be scrapped and for the country to open back up again.
Truck drivers converged on a Reedy Creek service station early before beginning their convoy in the southbound lanes of the M1.
Two truck drivers have stopped in the middle of the motorway with a big banner between them, blocking all traffic from coming through.
Queensland Police have been forced to put diversions in place near the Reedy Creek exit and have urged motorists to avoid the area.
Delays are expected along the M1 southbound, near Exit 86, due to protest activity. Diversions are in place and motorists are asked to avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/aaph31eAhL
— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) August 29, 2021
There are already major delays back to Robina as a result.
— Jess Millward (@JessMillward9) August 29, 2021