Call for truckie wage subsidy due to rail-line ‘crisis’


The Transport Workers’ Union has today written to the Prime Minister demanding a wage subsidy for truckies who will experience loss of work due to the flooding on the trans-Australian railway.

The union said thousands of truck drivers are expected to be out of work after 80 per cent of food supplies into WA have been disrupted due to severe flooding on the only lifeline that connects the state to the rest of the country.

“The people of WA have been made involuntarily dependent on this rail-line for 80 per cent of our food and supplies and our truck drivers are dependent on this rail-line for their employment” said TWU WA state secretary Tim Dawson.

“The livelihoods of truck drivers are at stake, at a time when there is a national shortage of truck drivers. Our members who own fleet and run their own businesses have mortgages to pay and truck repayments to meet. Costs don’t stop just because of flooding.”

Acting TWU national secretary Nick McIntosh said the federal government couldn’t risk repeating the same mistakes it made during the pandemic.

“Truck drivers are crying out for support, and the Prime Minister needs to act now. The last time Scott Morrison ignored truck drivers’ calls for action, we saw Covid rip through supply chains because we didn’t have rapid tests to keep workers safe,” McIntosh said.

“The federal government needs to step up to the plate today and support the workers who have carried this country through the last three years.”

The union’s letter to the federal government goes on to suggest that these significant disruptions point to a broader national issue: the failure to adequately plan ahead to protect supply chains from disruption.

“The federal government has taken no responsibility for maintaining this national rail-line, they eroded our state shipping industry and have no contingencies to ensure the WA public aren’t going without.”

The TWU wants to see that no truck driver is worse off following these disruptions to the supply chain and believes a federal wage subsidy for truck drivers is the only way to ensure transport workers don’t go without.

Calling into the 6PR breakfast show with Gareth Parker this week, a long-time driver called Eddie, who works for “one of the biggest transport companies in Australia”, said he’d never seen the industry under so much pressure.

“Now the majority of the West Australian distribution fleet is currently stood down without pay and tomorrow our last three trucks also park up and we go home indefinitely,” he said.

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