ATA dismisses TWU claims, summit reform impact

Association rejects lobby links, says union summit won't address key issues

ATA dismisses TWU claims, summit reform impact
Ben Maguire


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has hit back at the Transport Workers Union’s (TWU’s) claims that linked its policies to a lobby group, also dismissing the impact of its upcoming safe rates summit in Canberra.   

Yesterday the TWU said the ATA must "come clean and reveal its political agenda, in light of recent press reports and following its position to oppose regulatory reform in trucking", questioning its links to the Defenders of Self-Funded Retirees, "a network of professional lobbyists involved in the trucking industry and the Liberal Party, with a history of campaigning against Labor government policies".

Read more about the TWU's statements on the ATA, here

The ATA brushed off any suggestions that group’s figures had any influence on its policy decisions.

"Andrew Higginson, Rob Gunning and Doug McMillan are all long retired from active involvement in the ATA," ATA chief of staff Bill McKinley tells ATN.

"The ATA does not have a view about retirement incomes policy. We do not intend to have a view.

"We are too busy standing up for the trucking industry and lobbying for practical safety measures that will make a genuine difference to safety on our roads."

Furthermore, ATA CEO Ben Maguire says the TWU’s safe rates summit in Parliament House this week is "about controlling the market and not about genuine truck safety reform … it will not address the key safety issues facing the industry".

"The TWU says it is concerned about safety, but every time the trucking industry has called for practical safety measures the TWU has been absent," Maguire says.

"For six years, the ATA and its member associations lobbied for new chain of responsibility laws to hold our customers to account. These laws came into force in October 2018 and include a new safety duty on everyone in the road transport supply chain, backed by massively increased penalties.

"The TWU couldn’t be bothered making a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into those laws."

Maguire adds that the TWU was also absent on the industry’s efforts to improve truck safety through better technology.

"In 2018, the ATA and our members lobbied the Australian Government to include rigid trucks in its plan to mandate stability control for new trucks and trailers. Now we’re campaigning for mandatory autonomous emergency braking for new trucks.

"This has the potential to reduce fatal truck crashes by up to 25 per cent and serious injury crashes by up to 17 per cent.

"But the TWU isn’t interested in securing these safety gains. Their focus is fixing prices, which even the TWU concedes was a failure when they tried it last time through the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. All the tribunal ever delivered was heartbreak and stress.

"Despite the TWU’s failure to learn from history, the ATA is keen to work with all parties to develop and implement policies that will genuinely improve safety."


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