There were 88 deaths from truck crashes in NSW in the 12 months to September, compared with 61 deaths for the previous year, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.
The number of transport workers killed on the job has also spiked, up to 65 for 2017, compared to 56 deaths for 2016. This is despite a decrease in workplace deaths last year, data from Safe Work Australia shows. Transport workers now account for almost 40% of all workplace deaths.
“The Federal Government is responsible for this increase and the slaughter which is taking place of road users. The Government’s own report on the road safety watchdog showed it was cutting truck crashes by 28% and yet it tore it down*. Malcolm Turnbull and Michaelia Cash still list this move as one of their great achievements since coming to power, yet it is clearly tainted with the blood of innocent lives,” said Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary.
“Wealthy retailers, such as Aldi, are also to blame for the slaughter. The financial pressure they put on transport operators and drivers through low cost contracts means trucks are not maintained and there is constant pressure on drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks. Aldi is adamant it will continue this pressure, by taking a legal case to silence truck drivers from speaking out,” Sheldon added.
In October, a cross-party Senate committee unanimously recommending that the Government facilitate industry talks to “establish an independent industry body which has the power to formulate, implement and enforce supply chain standards and accountability as well as sustainable, safe rates for the transport industry”.