Calls for industry participation in life-saving truck reform under new Labor government

Transport Workers' Union

Major transport industry groups, TWU, ARTIO, and NRFA have welcomed the new Federal Government and called on the rest of the transport industry to participate constructively in new trucking reform as committed under the ALP platform.

The new Labor government has pledged to act on Senate recommendations tabled last year calling for an independent body to set universal, binding standards to make Australia’s deadliest industry safer, fairer and more viable.

The Senate recommendations acted on evidence from 150 witnesses and 128 submissions spanning the entire trucking industry over a two-year inquiry.

In the six years since the LNP Government tore down a road safety watchdog – despite its own report saying it would have reduced truck crashes by 28% – and put nothing in its place, 1,061 people have been killed in truck crashes including 257 truck drivers.

The TWU, ARTIO, and NRFA are calling for industry-wide participation to make sure a new regulatory body is implemented in the right way so that it is sustainable and equipped to tackle industry concerns well into the future.

The industry stakeholders say the new Federal Government’s commitment to regulation will be welcome relief across the industry to address the Amazon Effect smashing supply chains, dragging down standards and undercutting businesses through gig-style arm Amazon Flex.

Overseas, the Amazon Flex model of underpaying and controlling transport workers via apps and algorithms has already infiltrated trucking through Amazon Relay.

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TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said: “An ALP Federal Government is a welcome change after the coalition’s persistent refusal to address deadly pressures in trucking, sending hundreds to their graves every year.

“Industry-wide standards will obliterate the Amazon Effect smashing supply chains at every level. Right across the industry there is a common interest in the security of enforceable standards to protect jobs, businesses and lives against insidious exploitation and unfair competition through gig-style loopholes like Amazon Flex. It is crucial that an independent body is established urgently and with the support of industry participation to set enforceable standards in an effective and sustainable way.”

Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation Secretary Peter Anderson said: “Finally, reform is on its way. If we all work together and contribute constructively to the formation of an independent body, we will all benefit from the protection of universal standards. The Senate inquiry proved that the crisis in trucking is deep-rooted and widely felt. With the emergence of the gig economy and Amazon’s of the world, we know we’re headed for ruin unless we act now. We have been handed a golden opportunity, we need everyone to get involved.”

President of the National Road Freighters Association Rod Hannifey said: “The hope we all shared that the Senate inquiry would lead to a better, safer industry will come to fruition. The industry came together like never before to support this inquiry in finding solutions to our shared concerns about the industry’s future. We need to see the same unity now with all stakeholders playing an active role in shaping reform.”

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