Now is the time for reforms

The TWU Canberra Convoy brought to the federal parliament a simple message: Now is the time to implement desperately needed reforms for safety and fairness in the transport industry. 

The industry is on the side of the 10 recommendations outlined in the Senator Sterle Without Trucks, Australia Stops report.

These recommendations are not yet implemented. The report is a workable blueprint to end the deadly pressures in transport – the 10 recommendations of the landmark senate report were tabled last year. 

At the report’s heart is the need for an independent federal body to set enforceable standards and rights for all drivers across road transport.

The recommendations also address industry issues around: licensing and training; road infrastructure and rest areas; fatigue management; holding clients to account to ensure fairer and safer contracts; payments being made on time; the protection of drivers’ rights (owner and employee) and most importantly they seek to ensure the voices of all drivers are heard. 

The pandemic showed the importance of safe national supply chains, yet truck drivers have never had it harder, and conditions are still deteriorating. 

The impact on the industry from exploitation and job losses through the gig economy business models, the cost impact from Transurban toll roads and fuel prices all make for a deadly recipe, therefore we have come together to call for life-saving transport reform.

The industry is standing behind the reforms recommended by the Sterle report. 

We stood on a stage before Parliament House, the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) were there. 

Chris Roe of the NRFA expressed his organisation’s dissatisfaction with the time taken to implement industry reform, he said: “We’re the truck drivers who dealt with snap border closures and Covid rule changes. We want the same efficiency to legislate safer standards in transport. There is much more in the transport industry that unites us than divides us. That’s why we’re calling on the federal government for fairness and safety as a whole industry.”

The federal government must act immediately with improvements to vital rest areas, universal licensing and training, and proper investigation and reporting into truck crashes in order to save lives. 

With FedEx already joining Amazon in the race to the bottom on wages and conditions, these reforms in transport are incredibly urgent.

Transport workers, their families and the public who share the roads need your support to ensure life-saving trucking reform is introduced as a priority by the federal government. 

  • Richard Olsen is TWU NSW/QLD state secretary

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