“I came here to ask why the Australian Trucking Association is against fixing the problems in transport and why they campaigned against safe minimum rates for truck drivers. They wouldn’t even give us five minutes,” said Sue Posnakidis, whose brother John Posnakidis was killed in a truck crash five years ago.
The Association has consistently refused to back a solution to the crisis in trucking in which hundreds are killed in truck crashes every year. Truck drivers have the highest workplace deaths, suffer from chronic fatigue, stress, mental health problems and are among the highest numbers for suicide and bankruptcies.
“They deny there is any problem in transport, they oppose addressing the difficulties in my job and they oppose lifting the rates. And now they won’t even meet us to hear what we have to say,” said Roy Ballantyne, an owner driver who also tried to meet the ATA.
The drivers and families have said they will continue to fight to reinstate an independent body to examine pressures in transport which lead to deaths, following the Government’s abolition of safe rates.
“The focus of the ATA is simple: money. They oppose addressing the problems transport operators and drivers face every day. Their mates in big business and Government are backing them on this and playing politics with people’s lives,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
An opinion poll has shown a majority of people believe the Tribunal should be kept while just 12% say it should be abolished. The poll by Essential Media shows a majority of people support safe rates. Over 85% say the Federal Government needs to take action to make the trucking industry safer. Major clients which dictate transport contracts should be held accountable for their impact on road safety, said 65% of respondents.
The Government’s own reports released recently show that road transport has the “highest fatality rates of any industry in Australia” with 12 times the average for all industries. The reports also show the link between road safety and the pay rates of drivers and that the Tribunal will reduce truck crashes by 28%.
* PricewaterhouseCoopers “Review of the Road Safety Remuneration System Final Report January 2016” (PWC Review 2016 – published by the Commonwealth Department of Employment on 1 April, 2016)
Jaguar Consulting Pty Ltd “Review of the Road Safety Remuneration System 16 April, 2014 (Jaguar Consulting 2014 – published by the Commonwealth Department of Employment on 1 April, 2016)