Yesterday, at a roundtable convened by the Minister for Workplace Relations Tony Burke, Woolworths, Coles, Uber, DoorDash, major transport operators, industry associations and the TWU backed a shared set of principles calling for reform to set enforceable standards across the industry.
Ahead of the jobs and skills summit, the roundtable called for urgent action to ensure a safe, sustainable, viable, and fair road transport industry for all supply chain participants, including independent contractors, and non-employee transport workers in the on-demand and rideshare economy.
The principles document outlines that reform could include adequately resourcing an independent body administered by persons with industry expertise or better empowering existing bodies, to:
- establish and maintain appropriate and enforceable standards in relation to both traditional transport operations and on-demand delivery and rideshare platform work;
- promote best practice supply & contract chain industry standards;
- effectively and efficiently resolve disputes;
- ensure transport workers are able to access and contribute to an effective collective voice;
- convene as necessary specialist advisory groups drawn from the industry to provide advice and recommendations; and
- provide appropriate enforcement to ensure standards and objectives are met.
The broad transport coalition has united to address industry pressures caused by the Australian legal framework falling behind changes in the industry, including the rise of the on-demand economy and new types of work arrangements.
Transport is Australia’s deadliest industry. Since the former Government abolished a road safety watchdog, over 1,100 people have been killed in truck crashes, including 263 truck drivers. A further 11 food delivery riders have been killed at work since 2017.
National industry convoys were held last month at Parliament House and in major cities across Australia in support of reform to set fair standards for a sustainable industry.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:
“This is a powerful blueprint for reform backed by every section of the industry. If adopted by the Federal Government, a standard-setting body would enable transport to emerge from an industry dominated by deadly economic pressures at every level of the supply chain, to a safe, secure and viable industry where all participants can thrive.
“Australia’s leading supermarkets, global gig companies, major transport operators, employer associations and workers are aligned and we invite others across the industry to join us. An industry coalition calling in unity for our system to be modernised in line with the reality of today’s transport industry is the strongest endorsement the Federal Government can receive to act quickly and with the backing of industry to get life-saving reform off the ground.”
Employer group ARTIO National Secretary Peter Anderson said:
“The outcome of this roundtable could not be clearer. Transport clients, employers, workers and even gig companies are all calling for the security of enforceable industry standards. Although this group may not always see eye to eye, our unity today shows how critical it is for the Federal Government to act.
“Transport is an essential industry for Australia. Over the last two years, pandemic pressures, flooding and global unrest have demonstrated how important transport is and how volatile supply chains have become. It’s in the best interests of the entire community to have a system that can support a viable transport industry.”
ACFS Port Logistics Managing Director and CEO Arthur Tzaneros said:
“As a large transport employer, I have seen the divide caused by the emergence of the gig economy and the pressure it’s putting on the industry. We have major retailers Coles and Woolworths alongside operators and workers calling for reform because we all need the protection of regulation to make transport a safe, sustainable industry. Every day it’s harder to be a top tier, safe provider of logistics services. It’s getting harder to recruit new people to our industry because it’s not considered a viable career. Things have got to change.”
FBT Transwest Managing Director Cameron Dunn said:
“As an employer transporting dangerous goods and liquids on our roads across the country, we want to see every participant in the supply chain accountable for safe standards. There’s currently no system to hold the economic decision maker to account. I choose to do the right thing, I need a system that rewards and supports that, not one that could squeeze me out because doing the right thing is uncompetitive.”