“My condolences go to the family and friends affected by this tragedy, which is yet to be fully investigated. I am calling on the wealthy retailers and the Government to take road safety seriously,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The crash brings to 17 the number of people killed in truck crashes since the start of March. It highlights the crisis in trucking and the need for wealthy retailers to ensure drivers in their supply chain are paid a safe, fair wage with well-maintained vehicles, the TWU said.
“When drivers and transport companies aren’t paid enough they are put under economic pressure to skip breaks, speed, drive for longer with overloaded vehicles in a stressed and tired state,” Sheldon added.
A ruling was handed down by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal in December stating that drivers must be paid a safe minimum rate for all of their work, including queuing at distribution centres and loadings and unloading their vehicles. The ruling holds wealthy retailers to account for safety in transport by compelling them to ensure that their transport contracts reflect the new rates. “These rates are minimum safe rates, they will ensure drivers get paid for all the work they do. Unfortunately what we are seeing is a lot of scare-mongering about the rates and this is coming right from the big retailers at the top. But lives should not be put before profits,” Sheldon said.
The deaths this past week include:
- SA, 15 Mar 2016: A male cyclist has died in a truck crash on Germein Road at Solomontown.
- NSW, 14 Mar 2016: A 32-year-old man has died in hospital following a crash on March 11 between his car and a truck on the Pacific Highway at Blackmans Point.
- VIC, 10 Mar 2016: An 81-year-old male pedestrian was kill after being hit by a truck at the intersection of Burnley and Swan streets in Richmond.
- VIC, 10 Mar 2016: Two people, the parents of three children, were killed in a crash involving two trucks and two cars on Hopkins Road at Truganina.
- NSW, 9 Mar 2016: A man has been killed following a head-on collision between his car and a truck on Anderson Drive at Beresfield.
- NSW, 8 Mar 2016: A man has died after his car and a truck crashed on Tomago Road in Williamtown.
- WA, 8 Mar 2016: A 64-year-old truck driver was killed when his prime mover hit a tree and caught fire on Albany Highway in Tenterden.
- NSW, 7 Mar 2016: A man has died following a head-on crash between his van and a truck on the Pacific Highway at Cooperabung.
- SA, 5 Mar 2016: A 47-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, who were both truck drivers, were killed when their truck hit a guardrail and burst into flames on the Eyre Highway near Port Augusta.
- VIC, 5 Mar 2016: A truck driver was killed when his truck hit a tree on the Western Freeway in Darley.
- WA, 4 Mar 2016: Two 25-year-old men died when their motorcycle crashed with a truck on McCombe Road in Halifax.
- VIC, 3 Mar 2016: Two people, a female sedan driver and a male truck driver, died when their vehicles collided head-on on Latrobe Road in Maryvale.
- VIC, 1 Mar 2016: A female truck driver has died after being pinned under her truck that rolled at a worksite on the South Gippsland Highway in Nyora.
The TWU is also calling for a national auditing, education and industrial rights fund paid into by all employers along the transport supply chain. The fund would ensure companies are meeting safety obligations and that those at the top of supply chains are being held to account for work carried out for them. The fund would also educate employers on their obligations while training drivers on safety and their rights at work.
“This fund is important in holding companies to account over safety. At the moment it is the rest of the community which is bearing the brunt of the loss of loved ones and the economic cost of truck crashes,” he said.