“The Government’s refusal to intervene and protect hundreds of thousands of low paid workers is similar to its stance last April when it abolish the Tribunal setting fair minimum rates for truck drivers. This Government is trying to drive thousands of hospitality, retail and transport workers into poverty, and allow the local economy to suffer as a result. In the case of transport workers this also affects safety on the roads,” he added.
The Government has since failed to put in place an alternative system to tackle the root causes of many truck crashes, with pressure increasing on drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip their mandatory rest breaks.
Last year one in three workers killed was a transport worker, by far the highest for any industry, according to Safe Work Australia. The end of last year also showed a 6.2% jump in deaths from rigid vehicles crashes and a 1.6% jump in deaths from crashes involving articulated vehicles, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. Over 130 people have died in truck crashes since the tribunal was torn down.
“The Government’s own report showed the RSRT orders would cut truck crashes by 28% and yet it went ahead and tore it down. It is clearly willing to play politics with people’s lives,” he added.