ATA plea for TWU to widen its safety scope

Transport Workers Union too focused on RSRT, national body claims

ATA plea for TWU to widen its safety scope
Ben Maguire


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) urged the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to widen its horizon on safety to encompass practical measures.

Over the past decade, the union has won and lost its long-fought-for industrial instrument aimed at realising its vision of "safe rates" in the trucking industry.

But the ATA’s critique is that the laser-like focus here is to the detriment of other action, such as the push towards a code of practice championed by the ATA and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), the draft of which attracted only criticism from the union.

"Unfortunately, the TWU’s focus on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal [RSRT] means it has not participated in the very positive discussions that have occurred about road safety in recent times," ATA CEO Ben Maguire says. 

"The RSRT caused nothing but grief to hardworking owners and operators.

"It forced them into financial hardship, increased debt, reduced equipment values and caused significant stress without delivering any safety benefits. 

"Meanwhile, the TWU failed to engage in the development of the ATA/ALC Registered Master Code of Practice.

"It didn’t make a submission to the Queensland parliamentary inquiry into the new truck safety laws that take effect from 1 October. 

"I would encourage the TWU to take a broader approach to road safety. There is no reason why it cannot join our positive discussions or put forward practical initiatives, like those included in the Australian Government’s recently announced funding boost."

Read the TWU’s reaction to the draft Registered Master Code of Practice here

Under the boost $3.9 million will be distributed to 14 heavy vehicle safety projects in the latest round of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative. 

The projects will help educate learner drivers about sharing the road safely with trucks, deliver more safety cameras and see the construction of Australia’s first roadside effluent disposal facility for livestock carriers, the ATA states. 

"These are the kinds of positive initiatives we need, and it’s great to have the support of the Government," Maguire says. 

"It’s time for the TWU to contribute to practical safety reforms, and I look forward to having this discussion with them."


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