Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Senator Carol Brown, has highlighted the federal government’s commitment to increasing safety for Australia’s hard-working truckies.
Addressing the National Road Freighters Association conference in Toowoomba today, Senator Brown re-enforced the government’s election commitment of $80m for dedicated, top class rest areas for truckies.
“Quality rest is essential for safe trucking, but in order to get quality rest you need quality rest areas. That is why we announced in the election campaign that we would provide $80 million for new and upgraded rest areas,” Senator Brown told the conference.
About 180,000 hard-working Australians earn their living moving freight around the nation on our roads. At the moment they move around 29 per cent of our freight. This is set to increase to up to 46 per cent.
Senator Brown assured the conference that work on the program design to deliver on this important election commitment had already begun as part of the preparation for the October budget.
Specific projects will be selected in close consultation with the men and women who have their hands on the steering wheel day in and day out.
“The government is committed to keeping these hardworking Australians safe, and providing a dedicated rest area policy and program is an important part of that commitment.”
Brown said she looks forward to working closely with long-time friend, WA Labor Senator Glenn Sterle, the former truckie who was Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety.
Sterle also spoke at the conference and admitted he was disappointed to not get the role Brown now has, but reconfirmed his commitment to advocating for industry and stopping the squeeze on the supply chain from the top down.
“We’re at a stage now where we can’t continue down the same path,” said Sterle, who also reiterated his push for an independent body to represent the industry in Canberra, as highlighted in his recent Senate inquiry.
“The truck drivers’ voice will be 50 per cent of the equation – you will be there, and you will be heard.”