SARTA joins chorus of TWU summit disapproval

South Australian industry body on limited summit and Macquarie academic confusion

SARTA joins chorus of TWU summit disapproval
Steve Shearer spares nothing in response to the TWU Safety Summit


The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) has given the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and academic researchers a serve over Friday’s Safety Summit and the related fatigue report.

SARTA reinforced the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA’s) criticism of the limited and partial nature of the event.

It is extremely disappointing and frustrating that the TWU just keeps marching up and down on the spot and sticking to its worn out rhetoric about rates of pay, which are regulated Award rates for the vast majority of truck drivers," SARTA executive director Steve Shearer says.

"The TWU is living in the past and wants the discredited and ineffective RSRT brought back.

"What the TWU should do, is get serious about working with the actual key players in the industry and government on real solutions to actual safety issues, but they seem determined not to do that and they are badly failing the drivers they are supposed to represent."

SARTA states that the TWU failed to invite state and federal industry bodies – SARTA, the Queensland Trucking Association, Road Freight NSW, the ATA, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters’ Association (ALRTA) – along with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

"If the TWU was actually serious about identifying and resolving the safety issues, instead of just looking for friendly academics and bodies like ARTIO, a largely discredited industrial body that supported the RSRT until the industry railed against it) who already are wedded to the ridiculous and unsubstantiated arguments supported by the TWU, then they would have ensured that all or most of the peak industry bodies and the NHVR and perhaps even police, were involved in their Summit," Shearer says.

Nor was the report ignored in the SARTA response.

"A Macquarie University review of regulation and survey of truck drivers focusing on risks to their safety was launched during the summit and, from our initial read of it, it seems to suffer the same weaknesses as the TWU’s arguments," Shearer says.

"As an example, the academic report says that over 80 per cent of truck drivers work more than 50 hours per week and 10 per cent work more than 80 hrs per week.  

"This begs the question of whether or not the academics bothered to check the very strict laws covering truck drivers' work and rest hours because under those laws, drivers may work up to 72 hrs in a week and those who are covered by Fatigue Training and a Basic Fatigue Management Accreditation, issued by Government, can work up to 84 hrs in one week but if they do, they can only work 60 hrs in the following week (ie a total of 144 in 14 days.

"There are numerous other rules and limits on the amount of night time work etc; all of which was designed and based upon academic advice from a range of Australia's fatigue experts. 


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