June 21, 2023


The TWU is in Canberra with a delegation of truck drivers, rideshare drivers, food delivery riders, transport operators, employers and associations to Parliament House to meet with parliamentarians and call for the passing of urgent transport reform, with 109 deaths on our roads from truck-related crashes this year.

The delegation includes representatives Chris Roe and Gordon Mackinlay from the National Road Freighters Association, who previously opposed the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal in 2016 but now join the TWU and other organisations from around the industry in a united push for reform.

Other representatives include Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation Secretary Peter Anderson, NatRoad CEO Warren Clarke, Tasmanian Transport Association Executive Director Michelle Harwood, National Road Freighters Association member Julie Downey, Linfox President of Industrial Relations Laurie D’Apice, and workers from the TWU.

Decades of evidence has shown that financial pressures from cost-cutting in transport supply chains squeeze operators and drivers and cause dangerous pressure to delay maintenance, meet unrealistic deadlines or stay on the road too long.

This year has seen the collapse of Scott’s Refrigerated, Rivet Mining Services and MilkRun in the face of incredible pressure from wealthy clients making extraordinary profits while squeezing transport contracts.

So far this year, 109 people have died in truck crashes, including 29 truck drivers, with a truck driver tragically killed just yesterday in WA. 11 food delivery riders have been killed since 2017. In the last financial year there have been close to 200 insolvencies in the trucking industry.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the scale of the crisis in road transport has hastened unprecedented cooperation in the industry.

“It’s only halfway through the year but we’ve already surged past the dreadful milestone of 100 truck crash deaths on our roads. In the face of an industry that is spiralling towards breaking point, we now see unlikely allies from right across transport uniting to call for change – because we can’t afford not to.”

“This crisis in transport affects the entire industry, from gig workers to owner drivers under pressure to drive longer and faster, to employers faced with cannibalistic, unfair competition.”

“In 2016 when the RSRT was abolished, the gig economy barely existed. Now it is a deadly additional factor to the supply chain pressures in this industry. Wealthy supply chain clients, who are reaping mammoth profits, continue relentlessly seeking a faster and cheaper way while others pay the cost.”

“We’re here in Canberra to urge Federal Parliament to act without delay to pass reform that would make road transport safer, fairer and more sustainable, and ensure lives and livelihoods are protected.”

NRFA board member Gordon Mackinlay, who was a key voice against the RSRT in 2016, said it was ground-breaking for the industry to now be so united.

“Members of this industry have been at loggerheads for years, but we’ve all got the same vision for road transport, and we’re here today willing to fight together to make it happen and to get it right.”

“When the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was torn down in 2016 the Federal Government put nothing in its place. If you had told me seven years ago that every part of the industry would be on the same page today calling for desperately-needed reform, I wouldn’t have believed you. But we’re together in this because the industry needs fixing, and we finally have a moment to achieve real change.”

“The scale of the unity in this industry is testimony to the crisis road transport is in. We need reform urgently for people to be able to stay in this industry.”

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