“My brother’s death has devastated our family and we know he should never have died. He was killed by an inexperienced driver who’d had a ‘grueling work schedule’ and was driving a truck with faulty brakes, according to the coroner. I am saddened that Parliament chose to put politics over road safety but I’ll keep fighting so that no other family has to go through what we are living every day,” said Sue Posnakidis, whose brother John Posnakidis was killed in a truck crash in South Australia in 2010.
The group stood alongside 250 crosses in front of Parliament House, each representing 10 people killed in truck crashes in the last 10 years.
“We have been involved in a process of consultation over several years in the Tribunal about making our roads safer. The Government decided to play politics and stopped that process. But we look forward to returning to calm negotiations away from the Government’s electioneering to discuss again how to improve safety in transport and how to make the jobs more sustainable,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
An opinion poll today shows 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 the Tribunal. 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.
Owner driver Roy Ballantyne said the safe rates Order gave him a wage rise for the first time in 20 years. “Now the government has taken away that increase and left me struggling again. I don’t want to have to keep choosing between putting food on the table and maintaining my truck,” he said.
Drivers from various transport sectors such as waste, ports, the delivery of fuel and the delivery of cash have been involved in Tribunal inquiries aimed at keeping them safe in their jobs. “The Tribunal was about to hand down a ruling in delivery of cash and other valuables, where I work. It has spent two years investigating cuts being made to safety and how lives are being put at risk,” said Scott McIntyre, an armored car driver.
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%.
The Essential Report on Trucking Industry can be downloaded at this url: http://www.twu.com.au/Essential_Report
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)