Drivers from the cash delivery sector, ports, delivery of fuel, waste, retail and manufacturers called on the Prime Minister to sit down with them to discuss ways of tackling the crisis in transport, without getting rid of the one body which is already doing this.
TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said the Prime Minister had to stop using the issue as a political football. “A couple of weeks ago the truck drivers of Australia never heard from Malcolm Turnbull. Today he is ignoring the crisis they face in terms of the highest workplace deaths, chronic fatigue, stress, mental health problems, suicide and bankruptcies. He is also choosing to ignore the thousands of families left devastated by truck crashes who want to see change,” he said.
The Government’s own reports released recently show that road transport has the “highest fatality rates of any industry in Australia” with 12 times the average for all industries. The reports also show the link between road safety and the pay rates of drivers and that the Tribunal will reduce truck crashes by 28%.
Armoured car driver Scott McIntyre involved in the delivery of cash and valuables said abolishing the Tribunal would devastate drivers in the sector. “For two years the Tribunal has been investigating safety in my sector with evidence presented on banks moving cash at reduced rates, cutting back on safety and putting lives at risk. If this Tribunal is abolished myself and my colleagues will leave the sector because we won’t be prepared to put our lives at risk,” he said.
Owner driver Ray Childs said he operates in NSW where a minimum rate has already applied for 30 years to drivers and this has improved the industry. “Minimum rates need to apply nationally to lift standards and ensure people can pay themselves and wage and pay their overheads. Otherwise you get a race to the bottom and safety is sacrificed,” he said.
Waste driver Jeff Oudsen said that change in his industry was desperately needed. “Drivers are being pushed to go over their hours and take risks. This is impacting on the safety of drivers and members of the public. I’d like Malcolm Turnbull to put himself in our seat and do what we do every day and tell us we don’t need change and that we don’t need this Tribunal,” he said.
“The transport industry and union negotiations to improve a recent Order on safe minimum rates for owner drivers ended as we were about to reach agreement when Malcolm Turnbull said he would rip up safe rate road protections. This is an appalling way to run a country,” Sheldon said.
* PricewaterhouseCoopers “Review of the Road Safety Remuneration System Final Report January 2016” (PWC Review 2016 – published by the Commonwealth Department of Employment on 1 April, 2016)
Jaguar Consulting Pty Ltd “Review of the Road Safety Remuneration System 16 April, 2014 (Jaguar Consulting 2014 – published by the Commonwealth Department of Employment on 1 April, 2016)