Industry reform agenda welcomed at transport forum

TWU backs ALP's Safe Rates framework while ATA hails ‘constructive conversation’

Industry reform agenda welcomed at transport forum
Crouch, Sterle and Kaine previously convened at last year's ATA Council meeting


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says it is backing federally binding legislation on a renewed system of Safe Rates "to ensure safe standards of work including fair payments and conditions", following the Transport Industry Standards Forum convened by Senator Glenn Sterle at Parliament House.

Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Anthony Albanese reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to push for reform of the industry if the next election led to a change of government, with the TWU supporting legislative framework to address financial pressures at the top of the supply chain, which it attributes to a high number of deaths from truck crashes and insolvencies among transport companies.

"It is clear that the tide is turning and that our industry is united in pushing for a way to make things better. The industry realises that a huge gap has been left since a road safety watchdog was torn down and that rates, payment deadlines, safety and sustainability has gotten worse. We need to address this urgently," TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine says.

"We believe that the ALP got the policy right in December at their national conference and that binding legislation to tackle the gross imbalances and a skewed power dynamic in our industry is the way forward. We look forward to moving ahead now and pushing for the implementation of this policy."

The TWU's agenda was supported by ACFS Port Logistics CEO Arthur Tzaneros at its Safe Rates Summit in February. Read more here

The TWU also quoted Frank Black, who recently was voted as the owner driver representative on the ATA general council.

"We need change and we need it urgently. Drivers need to be viable so they can operator safely. We need to stop the procrastination and implement changes now," Black says.

The effect of this is tight margins which see transport companies subsist on tight margins and delay maintenance to trucking fleets, and drivers forced to work long hours, speed and skip mandatory rest breaks.


While the TWU and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) haven’t always seen eye to eye on industry reform issues, the hatchet was buried for the time being as chair Geoff Crouch, CEO Ben Maguire, owner-driver Chris Howard and Fellows Bulk Transport owner Paul Fellows represented the ATA at the forum.

Crouch notes the forum explored ways to address challenges within the industry, transport policy and the next steps necessary to improve road transport standards, conditions and safety outcomes.

"The ATA was delighted to join Senator Sterle’s forum and have the opportunity to contribute to this important conversation," Crouch says.

 "The forum brought together an extremely diverse range of industry participants, providing a platform for positive discussion.

"It was very encouraging to see everybody proactively contributing to one central goal: to improve safety outcomes."

Howard says while there were some different agendas in the room, everyone was on the same team.  

"It would be great to have a combined effort incorporating drivers, employers and suppliers that benefits the industry as a whole," Howard says.


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