Safe rates? Try new trucks first, WARTA says

WARTA CEO Ian King says focus should be on adopting new and safer trucks before signing up to a safe rates tribunal

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | February 7, 2012

Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) CEO Ian King believes the Federal Government and the transport industry need to keep safety paramount when considering safe rates.

Instead of being caught up in "political shenanigans", more needs to be done to introduce measures on removing remuneration-related incentives, pressures and practices that "contribute to unsafe work practices", King says in a recent WARTA newsletter.

"The question arises – how can the Federal Government and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) possibly argue for ‘safe rates’ without a guarantee that industry also adopts newer and safer trucks?" he asks.

"One could surely state that we should start with the newer trucks and it will instantly reap the benefits allowing drivers to be paid more.

"It beggars belief to argue that by offering to pay drivers more, using older and older and unsafe vehicles will make them safer.

"Surely ‘safe rates’ are simply one link in the chain of providing a safe system of work on our roads. Both government and industry must continue to keep safety paramount."

In response to findings linking low rates of pay to poor safety in trucking, the Federal Government has committed to introducing a tribunal on July 1 to set remuneration for truck drivers.

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