We are getting closer to the opening of the NorthConnex, a Transurban toll road which transport workers are forced to use, there is no choice for them on how they get to manage their business expenses.
The transport industry protested, we ran a convoy down Pennant Hills Road in Sydney, the road from which they are to be banned from using.
The TWU also wrote to the man responsible, Andrew Constance, the NSW Transport Minister. I asked the Minister to commit to no new tolls, a cap on toll road costs and we sought government assurances they would legislate fairer payments, all of which enable a small business to run a truck safely. There has been no response.
The NSW Government have made a cosy deal with Transurban, which puts our industry and our future in debt for forty plus years and all they can come back with is the Minister appearing in Transurban videos which blame truck drivers for accidents and noise on Pennant Hills Road.
The blatant disregard for transport workers who have kept economies moving through the pandemic is telling on how the NSW Government actually cares for the vital small businesses in the transport industry. Transport workers want to keep kids safe, but small business operators must not be forced to bolster the profits of a private company, Transurban, to enable us to do so.
In the meantime, as the demand for freight movement increases, the introduction of longer heavy vehicles onto our roads is inevitable. The TWU understands that larger loads and longer vehicles are part of the future.
I need to pose some questions to the Industry and Government who are seeking better productivity from these vehicles. Have you taken into account that these vehicles and their drivers will need adequate, fit for purpose, rest areas with proper road access in and out on our major roads?
Have you properly trained the drivers and have you put in place ongoing paid training programmes that ensure those who drive these vehicles are increasing their professional skills? Are you paying these drivers properly for their new tasks?
To the NSW Government who say these vehicles are now safe for use on our roads. Have you properly introduced these vehicles to the public, to educate them on what to expect from these new truck and trailer combos only doing 90km/h? Light vehicle drivers need to know what to expect when driving near them and overtaking them.