Truckies short-changed while top industry bureaucrats rake in $615k, says union


Transport workers will be disappointed to learn that increasing costs of doing their job – taxes on income and fuel, registration charges, levies, toll road costs, and more – are  contributing to highly paid NSW Government bureaucrat salaries.

That’s the takeaway today from TWU NSW state secretary Richard Olsen in response to the annual reports tabled last month that reveal the top personnel at several government bodies are paid more than $600,000.

They include both the heads of Transport for NSW, Rob Sharp, and Infrastructure NSW, Simon Draper, who are each on a base salary of $614,000 a year.

The TWU is questioning the value that owner-drivers and other heavy vehicle operators are getting for their hard work and contribution to the NSW Treasury, said Olsen.

TfNSW boss Rob Sharp.

“They are questioning Premier Dominic Perrottet defending bureaucrat salaries with the line: ‘You don’t get the best teams and you won’t get the best infrastructure.’

“Transport workers actually feel like they have been short-changed.”

Olsen cited a comment earlier this year from NSW Regional Roads Minister Sam Farraway as just one example of the many anomolies.

“He said, ‘One death on our country roads is one too many’ and it takes a ‘suite of measures to save as many lives as possible, like improving our roadside infrastructure.”

“Does that “suite of measures” include facilities and rest areas – adequate to suit the needs of all road users including Heavy Vehicle operators? We have not seen an infrastructure strategy in place for Road Safety for the Transport Industry.”

Olsen also cites the Transport for NSW online survey released in February “recognising that roads are heavy vehicle drivers’ workplace and rest areas are important facilities that support driver wellbeing and compliance with mandatory rest breaks.”

“Transport for NSW mentioned that they are ‘carrying out a review of heavy vehicle rest stops across the state road network, and is planning for and prioritising future heavy vehicle rest stop initiatives that will help to identify funding requirements and potential funding and delivery options.’

“Nobody has heard from them since.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Olsen also points out that in the NSW Freight and Port Strategy it states: “Truck rest areas are important in managing driver fatigue as well as providing facilities for load adjustment or addressing maintenance issues that can arise on route.

“Transport for NSW will continue to identify and develop rest areas at strategic locations on major freight routes.”

But Olsen said nobody has outlined what is being spent on facilities or amenities that support driver wellbeing and compliance with mandatory rest breaks.

At the Ports in Sydney, truck drivers are being moved on rather than be allowed to park up and rest, added Olsen.

“No new infrastructure has been put in place. Given the number of truck movements at Port Botany, the NSW Government had announced it will explore a second truck marshalling area in the Port Botany area to cater for additional growth, serve all stevedores and possibly offer specialised transport services.

“Again dead silence as to when heavy vehicle operators in the port expect that to be delivered.”

When queried about the level of executive pay, Premier Dominic Perrottet – whose $416,000 salary is less than that of many bureaucrats – said he preferred high-calibre public servants to private contractors.

“I want the best and brightest to be attracted to the NSW public service,” he said. “This government is undertaking more reform than ever before in our state’s history, and that has required the best services for our people.”

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