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Kilgariff calls for united front on truck safety

ALC chief calls for cooperation in addressing problem instead of finger wagging


Addressing the issue of safety should not just be a concern for policy makers but all participants in the supply chain, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says.

The transport industry, governments and regulators should work together to improve safety across the supply chain sector and on the roads, ALC MD Michael Kilgariff states.

“One death in a truck-related accident is one death too many,” he says.

“We need industry, governments, regulators and all road users to work cooperatively to improve outcomes, rather than point fingers.”

Kilgariff’s statement comes a day after the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) national secretary Tony Sheldon, once again, blamed the federal government for standing by while the industry continued to put more pressure on truck drivers resulting in increased cases of road accidents and wage theft.

“We should be especially cautious about attempts to advance an industrial agenda by exploiting every accident that occurs, as part of an effort to revive the former Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), and its so-called ‘Safe Rates’ regime,” Kilgariff says.

He points to Toll MD Michael Byrne’s letter to the prime minister, recommending ways to address safety issue in the industry.

“The approach advocated by Toll Managing Director and industry leader Michael Byrne should be closely considered by industry, governments, regulators and the community,” he says.

“While there has been some comment about an increase in fatal crashes involving articulated trucks in NSW over the year to September 2017, we should note that over the corresponding period, fatal crashes decreased in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

“These states are all subject to exactly the same fatigue management rules that apply in NSW under the HVNL.

“Ultimately, inflammatory statements and blame shifting will not save lives.

“We need industry, governments and regulators to work cooperatively on delivering practical policy solutions that will create a safer environment for all road users.”

He says ALC supports the upcoming changes to the chain of responsibility (COR) rules under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

He insists that all supply chain participants understand their safety obligations and take greater responsibility to effectively manage safety risks.

“That is why ALC and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) are developing a Master Code for heavy vehicle safety, capable of becoming a registered industry code of practice under the HVNL,” he says.

“ALC has also long-supported the mandatory use of telematics and tools such as Electronic Work Diaries (EWD) to enhance safety.

“In our view, the review of regulatory telematics being undertaken by the National Transport Commission (NTC) must actively consider the benefits of using telematics to improve multiple aspects of heavy vehicle safety.

“We have similarly called on the Federal Government to introduce a national operator licencing system to make certain the nation’s heavy vehicle fleet is operated by competent professionals who understand their safety obligations.

“Any public discussion about heavy vehicle safety should be placed in its proper context, and we should be wary of attempts to link accidents to issues such as driver remuneration, when there is little evidence to support such claims.”

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