Opinion

NTC fails to deliver an effective review of national law

veterans

After three years of consultations, meetings and communiques, the National Transport Commission (NTC) has failed in its attempt to deliver an effective and meaningful review of the National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL).

The review began in November 2018 and was intended to produce outcomes that would improve safety and productivity.

However, all it has done since then is produce summaries of findings, regulatory impact statements and reports to transport ministers which have gone nowhere, and now the National Transport Commission has given representatives from the road transport industry a week’s notice to participate in a half-baked workshop to consider their proposed changes to fatigue management.

The proposed changes would see fatigue standard hours cut by 22 hours a week which would reduce the wages of truck drivers and drive transport companies to the wall.

In one example, the NTC’s proposed ‘General Schedule’ would reduce the income of a typical local delivery driver by about $24,000 per year.

I shudder to think how much this would reduce the wages of an interstate driver.

At a time where we are already seeing the road transport industry having the living daylights squeezed out of it by those at the top of the supply chain, sham contracting on the rise and wage theft rampant, the failure of the NTC to deliver anything constructive since 2018 is a slap in the face to Australia’s essential truck drivers and transport companies.

Rather than attempting to cut the wages of hard-working truck drivers and completely crushing any hope of sustainability for our transport companies, the Morrison-Joyce Government and the NTC need to bin this review and respond seriously to the recommendations of the recent Senate report into the importance of a viable, safe, sustainable and efficient road transport industry.

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