The Transport Workers Union (TWU) ran a Convoy to Canberra last month and hundreds of truck drivers drove in convoys around Australia’s capital cities, because things are tough in transport.
Truck drivers, bus drivers and aviation workers showed up in solidarity with their families calling for the federal government to urgently implement Senate recommendations to make Australia’s deadliest industry safer and protect against the Amazon effect
The TWU is holding the Albanese government accountable for a better industry and is seeking the implementation of the 10 recommendations from Senator Glenn Sterle’s inquiry into road transport and safety.
We need to make the deadliest industry in the country safer.
A recommendation in the Sterle Report focuses on expanding the powers of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to carry out independent, no-blame safety investigations of road crashes involving commercial heavy vehicles; ensuring all commercial vehicle crashes are recognised, treated and investigated as workplace accidents.
The TWU has been seeking an improvement like this for some time.
In 2020, four police officers died when a sleep-deprived and drug-affected truck driver crashed into them on the side of the road.
It came to light that he was allegedly directed by three senior managers and his boss to work even after the fact that he had informed the company he was not in a fit state to drive safely.
Legislating and enforcing the recommendations in the Sterle report will make sure accidents like these are counted as workplace incidents.
The industry will become safer as the enforcement framework will ensure compliance with higher standards and industry practises.
A new wave of change is desperately needed as the industry is struggling with fuel and toll road costs with the NSW Government and Transurban ripping off drivers every day, making it nearly impossible to sustainably run a business. The industry is struggling to survive.
The federal government has committed to establishing a standard-setting body to create a safety net for all transport workers. The TWU is calling for urgent action on that pledge.
Transport workers and industry groups in Canberra have met with politicians to call for immediate support for an independent body to set minimum standards and end the Amazon Effect of cost-cutting and unfair competition smashing transport supply chains.
The TWU needs a guarantee that industry jobs will be there into the future, and that drivers will be able to make a decent living.
That’s why we need the federal government to create a fair system for all drivers.
- Richard Olsen is TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary