Country towns have been left with a huge clean-up bill and piles of unused food after ‘‘thousands’’ of truck drivers rallying against the federal government failed to show up.
The 220-strong town of Wallendbeen was contacted by Convoy of No Confidence organisers 11 days ago and told to prepare for up to 1000 hungry protesters – but locals say only 10 turned up.
Wallendbeen Hotel owner Kerry Murphy rostered on four extra staff members, hired beer glasses, bought extra kegs and purchased supplies for 300 bacon and egg rolls.
‘‘We only sold 10 bacon and egg rolls,’’ she said.
‘‘We don’t know what to do, we are a bit depressed. It was a big flop, we busted our nuts for nothing and prepared for days but only 10 trucks arrived.’’
The publican said she received a call from the rally organisers almost two weeks ago asking if she could cater for an influx of visitors.
She said the event was badly organised and had inconvenienced small country towns.
‘‘They over-exaggerated, they said it was going to be crazy, that Wallendbeen was never going to see
anything like this again.’’
The fishing club and school have been left with hundreds of dollars worth of unused meat after planning a barbecue.
Up to a dozen large steel drums filled with fire wood designed to keep the protesters warm will have to be cleared.
The ACT village of Hall also overcompensated for the convoy, with some eateries purchasing a week’s worth of food in preparation for hundreds of hungry mouths.
Wood Duck Inn stayed open all night waiting for the convoy, but only five truckers set foot in the pub.
Co-owner Jim Kroezen said he was disappointed by the turnout and purchasing extra alcohol and breakfast supplies had been unnecessary.
‘‘We stayed open all night and put a sign out on the highway saying we were open for meals and breakfast,’’ he said. ‘‘But the massive convoy only eventuated to three trucks.
Maybe the organisers had overestimated the numbers?’’
Convoy of No Confidence co-ordinator Peter Whytcross said he told country businesses to ‘‘keep it basic’’ and never specified how many trucks, caravans and cars would descend on country towns.