Cane-haulage truckies given reassurance
By HUGH KEARNEY
CANE truck drivers on the Tweed and Northern Rivers should have no fears about having a job next season. The general manager of the freight company that has won the contract to haul sugar cane to the three NSW sugar mills next season said yesterday he wants to allay the drivers' fears about their future employment. The Melbourne-based freight company Specialised Container Transport (SCT) has won the cane- haulage contract from 2005 ahead of Murwillumbah company Mills Transport which has held the contract for the past 32 years. About 110 drivers are employed to haul cane in the region. SCT general manager Peter Kinsella said yesterday he understood the drivers' concerns but he wanted to assure them SCT would be hiring local drivers. "I want to scare that bogeyman away," Mr Kinsella said. "It is our intention to employ locally and use the experience and expertise of the employees of the incumbent contractor. "SCT will bring some innovations and expertise to value-add to the contract, but the methodology will be very much the same," he said. "There will basically be no change except the drivers will be driving different coloured trucks." Mr Kinsella was in the Tweed yesterday "having a look around". He said he did not wish to comment on the contract, except to say it was a normal commercial deal for the company. SCT, he said, was a privatelyowned family company based in Melbourne, but with a national presence. The company was multi-faceted, Mr Kinsella said, and amongst its other activities, SCT owned and ran freight trains between Melbourne and Perth. Mr Kinsella said the 2005 cane season contract would be the first cane-haulage contract for the company and he was looking forward to opening the Northern Rivers operation.