Sterle and industry players emphasise the positive on reform

Transport Industry Standards Forum marked by civility after testy lead-up

Sterle and industry players emphasise the positive on reform
Michael Kaine and Glenn Sterle


The positive approach on change in the trucking industry, should there be a change of government after the next federal election, has been recognised on the political and industry fronts.

The man who will be tasked making any new approach a reality after such a Labor (ALP) poll win, senator Glenn Sterle, has enjoyed a constructive response from industry organisations following last week’s Transport Industry Standards Forum (TISF).

The various industry groups have had a difficult past few months on safety and safe rates but it appears they are seeking to come to an accommodation all sides can live with.

With the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) having made their less-heated feelings plain, Sterle emphasises the broad nature of the event’s attendance, while the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) gives it a thumbs up and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) notes much needs to happen before a new reality dawns.

Read the initial ATA and TWU responses on how the summit unfolded, here

"Every state from across the country was represented at the forum and the range of the people in the room covered more than 2,000 years of industry experience," Sterle, who convened the forum, says.

"Each participant whether they were representing a transport organisation, association, employer group, retailer, union or their own small business had an opportunity to raise their concerns with the transport industry at present.

"The challenges discussed covered driver shortages within the trucking industry, payment terms, taxation, fair remuneration and a real problem with encouraging young people to seek employment within the transport industry.

"The forum also dedicated a significant amount of time working through the Labor party’s policy, which was endorsed unanimously at the ALP’s recent National Conference in December, to legislate for a national system of Safe Rates consisting of an independent body with responsibility for safe standards of work including fair payments and conditions.

"This system will be legislated under a Shorten Labor Government, however Labor will work with all participants to achieve the best possible legislation for our industry going forward.

"Labor looks forward to continuing to work with all of the participants who attended the forum and their respective organisations to ensure that our transport industry remains viable and safe."

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark, a stern critic of how safe rates has been pursued in the past, sees discussions as positive, "with everyone providing valuable suggestions on how to address the challenges the transport industry faces, and steps that need to be taken to improve safety outcomes".

"It was a great opportunity to come together with the Labor Party, the TWU and other Industry associations to discuss a sustainable future for transport with Senator Sterle," Clark says.

"It was encouraging to discuss a united way forward for the transport industry, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with Senator Sterle."

For its part, ALRTA is working on a detailed examination of the forum for the looming ALRTA national council meeting, which TWU national secretary Michael Kaine is due to attend.

"Whether or not the ALP and TWU proposals become a reality will ultimately depend on the outcome of the May 2019 federal election," the organisation says.

"ALRTA will continue to work with the ALP and TWU to better understand and influence the proposals as they develop further."


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