Chris Roe and Gordon Mackinlay, two vocal opponents of the now defunct Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), have joined forces with a road transport industry delegation in Canberra this week lobbying parliamentarians for urgent reform.
The National Road Freighters Association board members said it is ground-breaking for the industry to now be so united.
“Members of this industry have been at loggerheads for years, but we’ve all got the same vision for road transport, and we’re here today willing to fight together to make it happen and to get it right,” Mackinlay said.
“When the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was torn down in 2016 the federal government put nothing in its place. If you had told me seven years ago that every part of the industry would be on the same page today calling for desperately-needed reform, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“But we’re together in this because the industry needs fixing, and we finally have a moment to achieve real change.
“The scale of the unity in this industry is testimony to the crisis road transport is in. We need reform urgently for people to be able to stay in this industry.”
Other representatives include Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation Secretary Peter Anderson, NatRoad CEO Warren Clarke, Tasmanian Transport Association executive director Michelle Harwood, NRFA member Julie Downey, Linfox president of Industrial Relations Laurie D’Apice, and workers from the TWU.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said the scale of the “crisis in road transport” has hastened unprecedented cooperation in the industry.
So far this year, the union said 109 people have died in truck crashes, including 29 truck drivers, with a truck driver tragically killed just yesterday in WA. In the last financial year there have also been close to 200 insolvencies in the trucking industry.
“In the face of an industry that is spiralling towards breaking point, we now see unlikely allies from right across transport uniting to call for change – because we can’t afford not to,” Kaine said.
“This crisis in transport affects the entire industry, from gig workers to owner drivers under pressure to drive longer and faster, to employers faced with cannibalistic, unfair competition.”
“In 2016 when the RSRT was abolished, the gig economy barely existed. Now it is a deadly additional factor to the supply chain pressures in this industry. Wealthy supply chain clients, who are reaping mammoth profits, continue relentlessly seeking a faster and cheaper way while others pay the cost.”
“We’re here in Canberra to urge federal parliament to act without delay to pass reform that would make road transport safer, fairer and more sustainable, and ensure lives and livelihoods are protected.”