Opinion

It’s a federal government betrayal of our workers

The federal government has proved once again it is not on the side of those who work in transport. 

Drivers should be aware that the federal government has rejected suggested reforms in a landmark Senate report that calls for reform of Australia’s deadliest industry is a shocking betrayal of the people who drive business forward. 

Their rejection report was quietly snuck out during the chaos of the federal budget period. 

What’s been rejected? A two-year consultation of the industry, drivers and operators. 

The Without Trucks, Australia Stops report from the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry headed by Senator Glenn Sterle, made recommendations that lifted standards, made the industry safer, and supported the long-term future of Transport in Australia. 

Truck drivers and operators supported the recommendations made in the report. 

We cannot now forget what is in effect a betrayal of you and the work you do by this government. 

There were 10 recommendations in the report, widely supported by industry. Zero will be implemented by the federal government. 

Four have been outright rejected which includes the means to independently set enforceable standards in road transport, and a standing Transport Advisory Group consisting of drivers, operators, and unions to help inform government decision-making.

The federal government has arrogantly walked away from its responsibility to our industry. Greater transparency on investigations into truck accidents, and upgrades to truck facilities and rest stops have simply been ‘noted’. 

No action, no response to the many calls from right across this industry to help manage fatigue properly, so that truck drivers get home safely to their families. 

Reform is a national priority for Australia’s deadliest industry. The crippling pressures transport workers face every day are not addressed by this level of inaction. 

Mr Morrison and his ministers owe you a response that shows they care about the job you do. They owe you a duty of care on the financial costs like Transurban toll roads, fuel bills and more and the personal costs like the hours you have to put in to run a sustainable business, the road trauma and the pressures you face to do the job. 

It’s clear to the TWU that the Prime Minister is missing in action again when it comes to ending the crippling pressures truck drivers and operators face every single day.

It is well known that road transport is Australia’s deadliest industry, with low-cost contracts demanded by wealthy supermarkets, retailers, manufacturers and oil companies at the top of supply chains squeezing those supply chains. 

Compounded by gig companies like Amazon undercutting traditional transport operators, the result is an industry rife with underpayments, pressure to overload, skip rest breaks and drive fatigued. 

The pressure this industry faces is fatal, around 37 drivers have died at work since the Sterle report was released. Supply chain chaos will continue until there is reform. 

Mr Morrison, will you look into the eyes of a grieving partner of a truck driver who has died for lack of reform in our industry? 

I would hope you feel ashamed. 

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