Truck convoys call for passing of reform


Hundreds of transport workers, employers and industry groups took part in a series of convoys at the weekend urging the passing of the Closing the Loopholes Bill which they say will establish fair, safe and sustainable standards in transport.

The controversial legislation has been stalled pending a senate inquiry that is not due to report until February next year.

“Why does the Opposition hate our truckies?” tweeted WA Senator Glenn Sterle at the weekend.

“They’ve got a choice, they can either get in behind the Closing the Loopholes legislation or get out of the way!”

The group behind the convoys, which includes the TWU, NatRoad and the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA), has warned that Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Michaelia Cash’s recent motion to force a three-month delay to the senate report and vote on the bill will leave deadly pressures and “unstable market forces” unaddressed.

On average, each month 20 people die in truck crashes, three transport workers are killed, and 55 transport businesses collapse, the group said.

NRFA vice president Glyn Castanelli said the reform is urgent and has widespread support amongst industry.

“For decades, the industry has disagreed on many matters, but on this, we are united,” he said.

“There is no reason to delay legislation that will save lives and businesses. Owner-drivers are doing it tough in the cost-of-living crisis with operating costs through the roof and pressures increasing. We urgently need standards to support cost recovery and safe working conditions. It’s time to get this done.”

Many Big Rigs readers weren’t convinced when we posted a news alert before the convoys began.

“The industry is absolutely not all behind this legislation being introduced,” wrote Darran Bairstow on our Facebook page.
“This legislation has the potential to close down more owner drivers than it will help. It also has provisions for right of entry to unions such as the TWU.
“Fair Work will also set rates like the RSRT attempted to do. I personally have read into it, and appeared before the senate committee into it, and I have many reservations about it.”

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