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Opponents Join Forces For Truckies

Release date: 1/09/2012

Northern Daily Leader, by Ann Newling, 12 September 2015

Two politicians from opposite sides of the track have joined forces to push for a better business deal for transport operators.

Nationals senator John Williams from Inverell and Labor senator Glenn Sterle from Western Australia have teamed up to tell big business they won't stand for any moves to undermine truckies.

The two politicians are both former truck drivers but they're revved up now over what they see as threats to the livelihood of truckies over terms of payments from some major retailers and big business.

Senator Williams claims some transport companies and their workers are now being forced to wait up to four months to be paid.

He says at least one company told a transport operator that they would be paid 90 days after the month in which the invoice was generated - meaning work carried out on the 15th of August would not be paid until the 15th of December.

"This is outrageous," Senator Williams said.

" The transport company has to pay its drivers and staff in seven days, it has to pay its fuel bill in 30 days, plus parts suppliers and finance payments at the end of each month.

"But they are being asked to extend credit to much bigger businesses for up to 120 days." Senator Sterle said the practice would have a terrible impact.

"If one of these companies fails and cannot pay their suppliers, the transport company can be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket," Senator Sterle said.

"This can only lead to dangerous cost cutting and a lowering of industry safety standards.

"The intent of the Road Safety and Remuneration Tribunal's first order is for transport companies to be paid in a timely manner, but this is obviously being ignored." Both senators said they were looking at ways to ensure that payments to operators were made in a period no longer than 30 days.

Yesterday the two stepped up their campaign, telling media the new practice could have fatal consequences.

"It is absurd for transport companies to be asked to provide credit for three and four months when they have their own financial commitments such as wages, fuel, tyres and other maintenance costs and finance payments," Senator Williams said.

"We all know banks wouldn't be so understanding! If transport operators are forced into taking shortcuts it leads to overloading, speeding and lack of maintenance in an attempt to make ends meet.

"This can have fatal consequences. If transport operators are forced into taking shortcuts it leads to overloading ... This can have fatal consequences".

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