TWU calls for immediate action on government transport report

Tuesday, 18 November, 2008

A recent landmark joint Commonwealth/State government ‘Safe Rates’ report has recommended the establishment of a national scheme for setting mandatory safe rates for employees and owner-drivers in the heavy vehicle industry.

The new system would be a response to the chronic safety crisis that saw 275 people needlessly die in heavy vehicle accidents in the 12 months leading up to March 2008.

The report is from the Safe Payments Review conducted by Professor Michael Quinlan of the University of NSW and The Hon Lance Wright, former president of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said: “This is a giant step forward for the transport industry in ending the shocking amount of fatalities on our roads each year. The federal government commissioned this review in June at a time when many drivers and their families wanted to hold national blockades and stoppages in protest against the appalling conditions they are forced to endure because of the lack of accountability of major transport clients, like Coles and Woolworths.

“The report has found that clients allow rates to be squashed so low that drivers and operators must drive longer, take short cuts on vehicle maintenance and break speed limits to meet unreasonable deadlines and earn a decent living.

“All transport workers would benefit from the implementation of the system outlined by Professor Quinlan and Justice Wright. It has the support of drivers, academic leaders and community organisations, who all lent their voice for change in the review process. The federal government should immediately implement all recommendations in full so safety in our industry immediately improves and lives can be saved.”


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