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Dutton sools Border Force on truck crash firm

Fairy Meadow accident contractor accused over student visa holders


Federal Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has ordered a probe into the trucking firm involved in the Fairy Meadow McDonald’s Restaurant crash in New South Wales.

Speaking to 2GB radio presenter Ray Hadley, Dutton says information on low-profile firm Hari Om Transport and its recruitment strategy allegedly involving Indian student visa holders sparked the federal government’s interest.

 “If students are exploited, workers are being exploited, people are doing the wrong thing, then that’s right within their area of responsibility,” Dutton tells Hadley from Thailand, where he is inspecting anti-drug efforts.

“I’ve asked Australian Border Force to commence inquiries and they’ve done that.

“So, that investigation is underway, as it should, given the seriousness of the allegations.”

Read how the NSW authorities reacted to the Fairy Meadow crash, here

The radio station says Hadley fielded a call from a whistleblower claiming students visa holders were working more than allowed hours and being paid $12 an hour.

Dutton notes that such students are allowed 40 hours’ work a fortnight.

Those breaking the rules face having their visas cancelled and employers can face exploitation-related charges.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) NSW secretary Richard Olsen confirmed to the show that it would investigate the company, which is already in the sights of NSW Police.

Olsen flags that the union will follow the links from Hari Om to its contracting firm DSE Trucks and up to transport and logistics giant TNT.

TNT Australia did not refer directly to Olsen’s statements directly nor did it clarify what if any relationship it might have with DSE or Hari Om.

But, in a written response, a spokesperson did offer the following written response to ATN when asked about possible repercussions: “TNT is committed to ensuring it takes all reasonably practicable steps when considering Health, Safety and Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements in line with national and state-based legislation relating to Road Traffic Rules, Heavy Vehicle National Law and Work Health & Safety and Environment. TNT manages CoR obligations via a number of internal policies, procedures and systems.”


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