TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the transport industry faced many challenges and needed tireless advocates like Catherine King, Tony Burke and Glenn Sterle to push forward solutions that would make a difference.
“We are delighted that there is a strong team in opposition to the Federal Government. The Coalition has acted with intentional destructiveness towards the transport industry, tearing down three years ago a road safety watchdog which was investigating risks to safety in trucking. As a result this government has blood on its hands since it has put nothing in its place to tackle the needless truck crashes which happen on a daily basis. Meanwhile it continues to ignore the gig economy which is wrecking jobs and businesses in transport,” Kaine said.
“Catherine King has proved during her time as shadow minister for health that she understands what it takes to reform an industry, with the proposal for cancer care and the pledge to increase funding for public hospitals. Transport requires a similar approach with new ideas needed on how to tackle the threats to jobs in transport from the gig economy and with tough regulation needed to make road transport safer. As a member of parliament from a regional area like Ballarat, Catherine will know all too well about the need for safety in trucking and better infrastructure, including rest stops and good quality roads. The aviation industry is also crying out for an advocate who can address the disparity between the obscene profits being made by airports at the top and the low rates and poor conditions for airport workers. This issue affects safety and security at our airports and needs urgent attention,” Kaine said.
“Tony Burke has always been a friend and supporter of transport workers. He has stood with us over the years pushing for a system of Safe Rates to make road transport safer and fairer. He understands the threat that Australian workers face, whether from the downgrading of jobs through the gig economy or because of wealthy employers gaming the broken industrial relations system. We look forward to working with him to address these issues,” Kaine said.
“Senator Glenn Sterle’s reappointment as Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety indicates how seriously the Labor Party and its leader Anthony Albanese takes this issue. Glenn has been instrumental in bringing the road transport industry together to discuss a plan to tackle the disproportionately high number of fatalities and injuries in trucking. The forum he organised in March this year was an excellent meeting on the need to lift standards in our industry ahead of further development of the gig economy in Australia, through new freight models by the likes of Amazon and Uber. Glenn has already made a major difference to transport by investigating the problems of licensing fraud and exploitation of overseas workers. We have no doubt he will continue on this trajectory to shine a spotlight on our industry and to improve it,” Kaine added.