ATA and NatRoad call out TWU on safety summit

By: Rob McKay

Critique from uninvited industry bodies focuses on union’s approach

ATA and NatRoad call out TWU on safety summit
Noelene Watson says the TWU’s engagement on issues must go further


As the Transport Workers Union (TWU) gears up for its safety summit, two uninvited but major industry representative bodies have taken it to task.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) had been highly critical of the union- and ALP-supported Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), the abolition of which is a central impetus for the summit.

They have been less than impressed since with the union’s efforts to reinstate it and NatRoad is to hold a rival safety event.

"If the TWU actually wants to address the deaths on our roads and ensure that stakeholders are held to account, as it claims, it should join the ATA in supporting practical, evidence-based measures to reduce the road toll," ATA chair Noelene Watson says.

These should include:

  • supporting the reforms to the truck chain of responsibility laws which will now include a strong general safety duty. "The reforms will extend chain of responsibility to vehicle maintenance and roadworthiness, and massively increase maximum penalties for the most serious cases to bring them into line with the other national safety laws," Watson says. "The reforms will come into effect in the HVNL states in the first part of 2018. The TWU couldn't be bothered making a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the laws."
  •  supporting research by sleep scientists into the effects of the regulated work and rest hours for truck drivers. "The TWU was invited to join the steering committee for this research, but refused," Watson says.
  • lobbying the Australian Government to mandate EBS truck and trailer stability control technology from 2019 for new model trucks and trailers, and for new trucks and trailers from 2020. "There should be appropriate exemptions for trucks operating in rural and remote areas," Watson says.
  • pressing for a national ‘share the road’ safety education campaign, "because NTI [National Transport Insurance] research in 2015 found that other vehicles were at fault in 84 per cent of the fatal multi-vehicle accidents involving trucks that it examined".
  • supporting continued strong funding for roads and critical safety infrastructure programs, including funding for Roads to Recovery, the Black Spots program, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, and the Bridges Renewal program from 2019-20.

NatRoad has run much of the industry resistance to the union since the RSRT’s demise. 

"NatRoad is currently the only national association actively reviewing and responding to various TWU claims in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, Victorian Inquiry and on the Modern Awards Review underway by the Fair Work Commission," CEO Warren Clark says.

"NatRoad is also holding a number of one day Regional Trucking Summits to help build the industries understanding of the current industrial relations landscape and what practical steps can be taken to ensure the industry is operating fairly, competitively and safely."

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