The road transport industry has united at a roundtable to call on the Federal Government for assistance to address the devastating impact of the coronavirus on road transport. The call came as the TWU announced it was deferring bargaining across its enterprise agreements until the crisis is over.
Meanwhile Woolworths announced it would pay transport operators no later than 30 days for completed work to help them with cash flow and financial needs.
Workers, transport operators, industry associations at the roundtable called for measures including: relief on paying tax, fuel duty and tolls for operators and owner drivers, ensuring that wealthy retailers and manufacturers paying fair rates on time, Government assistance for companies in distress and Government assistance through Newstart allowances and top-up pay for companies which need workers to take unpaid leave.
Michael Kaine National Secretary of the TWU, which co-hosted the roundtable along with the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO), said the Government must act on the united industry demands.
“Today we are focused on saving jobs in our industry. The union will defer bargaining until the crisis is over so workers and transport companies can focus on getting through this unprecedented crisis. We now need to see a commitment from the Federal Government that it will step in and assist the industry,” Kaine said.
“Transport operators are worried about the thousands of families who will suffer if the industry doesn’t get the help that it needs. Transport workers are desperate for assurances that they will be able to pay their bills and support their families. Last week the Government announced a stimulus package for business that offered little to transport which is already cash-strapped. We need measures in place that will allow workers to keep their jobs and companies to stay afloat. We look forward to the Government’s response to our proposals,” Kaine said.
Peter Anderson, Secretary Treasurer of ARTIO, said transport businesses needed help to ensure their long term future. “Under normal circumstances but especially now, transport operators should not have to wait longer than 30 days for payment. Another initiative would be for government to delay tax obligations on operators and owner drivers and further to exempt fuel tax for transport operators over the next 6 months,” said Anderson.