On Saturday, hundreds of transport workers, employers and industry groups will participate in national convoys urging the passing of transport reform as truck crash deaths for 2023 surge to 202 and transport business insolvencies hit a five-year high.
The convoys come on Black Friday weekend, one of the busiest for transport workers and businesses, and will converge in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, and from Sydney to Parliament House, Canberra.
The industry will come together to urge Federal Parliament to announce its support of the Closing the Loopholes bill so that work can urgently commence to establish fair, safe and sustainable standards in transport.
The group has warned that Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Michaelia Cash’s recent motion to force a three-month delay to the senate report and vote on the bill will leave deadly pressures and unstable market forces unaddressed.
On average, each month 20 people die in truck crashes, three transport workers are killed, and 55 transport businesses collapse.
Twelve hours after Cash introduced the motion to delay, another food delivery rider died in a collision with a rideshare driver. It was the fourth transport gig worker death this year.
Analysis of ABS data by the ACTU found that the three-month delay of the bill would see gig workers lose up to $110 million in pay.
The convoy involves transport employees, owner drivers and gig workers, transport associations ARTIO, NatRoad, and NRFA, and transport operators including Global Express, Toll, Linfox, Bevchain, ACFS and FBT Transwest.
Two weeks ago, transport gig companies Uber, DoorDash and Menulog renewed their support for standard-setting reform at the Senate Inquiry into the Bill.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:
“The festive season is always treacherous for transport workers and has been made worse by Dutton and Cash’s motion to delay the passing of lifesaving reform. This year, 48 transport workers have been killed, including four gig workers. Deaths and insolvencies are surging in an industry with no minimum standards. That’s why we’re showing up in our hundreds on Black Friday weekend to remind Federal Parliament of the urgency of reform and the unity behind it.
“With all major gig companies on board, the entire transport industry has backed this reform. We need Federal Parliament to do the same so we can save lives on our roads.”
ARTIO Secretary Peter Anderson said:
“Transport has become progressively more dangerous and more volatile. Supply chains are adversely challenged without the protection of standards to ensure fair, healthy competition and safeguards against the threat of the imposing gig economy. The industry is united for this reform. We can’t wait any longer. Legislation passing Parliament will give us the mandate to introduce standards to improve fairness, safety and productivity.”
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said:
“Transport is an essential industry but is at breaking point. We are seeing more and more transport businesses close up shop because they can’t sustain their costs in this environment. We need broad and meaningful change to make transport more viable. This legislation has our support along with countless others spanning the entire industry.”
NRFA Vice President Glyn Castanelli said:
“This reform is urgent. For decades, the industry has disagreed on many matters, but on this, we are united. There is no reason to delay legislation that will save lives and businesses. Owner drivers are doing it tough in the cost-of-living crisis with operating costs through the roof and pressures increasing. We urgently need standards to support cost recovery and safe working conditions. We’re all on board for this legislative lifeline. It’s time to get this done.”
Convoy details to follow.
The monthly averages mentioned above are based on the three months Aug-Oct 2023:
- In total, 60 people were killed in truck crashes.
- Nine truck drivers and a transport gig worker were killed.
- 166 transport businesses became insolvent – a 44% increase on the same period last year.
- ASIC statistics show 355 transport businesses have become insolvent (Jan-Oct 2023).
- So far this year, 202 people have died in truck crashes, including 44 truck drivers*.
- Four transport gig workers have been killed this year, including rideshare driver Scott Cabrie who was murdered allegedly by his passengers, and three food delivery riders.
*These statistics are based on the TWU’s monitoring of media reports and may be higher.