Today, major national convoys for transport reform will bring together hundreds of transport workers, employers and industry groups in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Cairns and from Sydney to Parliament House, Canberra.
The participating truck driver employees, owner drivers, transport gig workers, employers, industry groups and supporting politicians are united in their calls for Federal Parliament to pass lifesaving transport reform when it is tabled this year.
Employers and industry groups involved in the convoy include Global Express, Toll, Linfox, Bevchain, ACFS, FBT Transwest, NatRoad, Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO), and National Road Freighters Association (NRFA).
The convoys follow a commitment from the Federal Government to empower the Fair Work Commission to set enforceable standards in transport to make the industry safer, fairer and more sustainable.
The commitment came as a result of the recommendations of a two-year Senate Inquiry into the viability of the trucking industry, informed by 150 witnesses including 37 truck drivers, and 128 submissions, of which 58 were from truck drivers.
Since the Without Trucks Australia Stops Senate report was tabled on 25 August 2021, 100 truck drivers have been killed in Australia.
The Federal Government is additionally acting on unanimous calls for reform from an industry roundtable convened by Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke involving supply chain clients Coles and Woolworths, gig companies Uber and Doordash, major transport operators, employer associations, workers and academics.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the industry is united for reform to fix the crisis in Australia’s deadliest industry.
“This industry convoy is about showing Federal Parliament that transport is beyond breaking point and the solution is soon to be on the table before them. Transport operators like Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics, Rivet Mining Services, Milkrun and 325 others have collapsed over the last year under the strain of uncommercial contracts, untrammeled supply chain pressures and unfair competition from gig models like AmazonFlex.
“People are being slaughtered on our roads under the deadly commercial pressures that lead to unrealistic deadlines, delayed vehicle maintenance, and staying on the road too long.
“Already this year, 132 people have been killed in truck crashes, including 34 truck drivers. A further two transport gig workers have been killed – and there may be more that have fallen through the cracks of underreporting.
“This is an industry in utter disrepair. Federal Parliament will soon be asked to give this industry the regulatory lifeline it needs, and the hundreds of workers, employers and industry groups participating in this convoy are asking them to pass transport reform into law without delay.”
ARTIO Secretary Peter Anderson said:
“The industry has come together like never before because we share the same frustrations, we have the same fears for the future of transport, and we know this reform committed by the Federal Government would unlock the industry’s potential. Employers and workers alike know that transport supply chains have lost accountability, productivity and are becoming progressively more dangerous. Operators are closing their doors, and workers are leaving the industry, or worse dying on the road. The gig economy’s entrance and rapid expansion only spells further doom for our essential industry. We urgently need transport reform passed into law to give all industry participants a fighting chance.”
NRFA Board Member Gordon Mackinlay said:
“In 2016, I was one of the owner drivers leading a convoy to Canberra to get the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal abolished. Since then, our industry has been overlooked and things have got worse. I have experienced firsthand what the lack of standards in transport can do to an owner operator. In 2019, I sold my trucks and went back to being a mechanic. Today, I’m joining a convoy calling for reform. I want the industry to be viable and make full time driving attractive again. There are dozens of others like me. That’s why we need reform, and we need it now.”
National Road Transport Association CEO Warren Clark:
“Our industry is at a critical point. We need wide-ranging and sensible change that bolsters our viability, builds productivity and enhances safety for everyone. As a point of principle, we support measures to ensure the safe performance of work, as long as they are evidence-based and able to be practically implemented in the workplace.”