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Would-be truckies should be accredited: Squires

QTA president wants would-be operators to be accredited before entering the trucking industry

By Brad Gardner | December 2, 2011

Would-be trucking operators should show they can run a business before being allowed to enter the industry, the president of the Queensland Trucking Association says.

Tim Squires wants an accreditation process to be considered that would put prospective entrants through the ringer to ensure they have the know-how to be successful.

Squires, who also runs Tothag Transport and Auto Pacific Freightlines, says there needs to be a focus on education and culture to lift safety standards in the trucking industry, and he nominated accreditation as an effective tool.

“It needs to be ensured that before a step is taken by someone who wishes to become an owner-driver or small business operator that they’re equipped properly to be able to run their own business,” Squires says.

“To this end we should seriously be looking at some sort of accreditation scheme for operators that not only ensures that their vehicles are maintained, they’re able to take in mass management and fatigue management schemes, but very importantly they possess the commercial skill level that their enterprise will require to ensure its survival.”

Squires says a culture that accepts speeding and dangerous driving must be addressed before trucking can say it is a safe and responsible industry.

“There’s still an undeniable element out there on our roads that speed, drive dangerously and risk their own lives and the lives of other simply because they can. They are still out there. If you doubt me go for a run up the Pacific Highway any night of the week,” he says.

Squires wants the focus on education and culture to accompany the Federal Government’s proposed safe rates tribunal, which is due to begin on July 1 next year.

The tribunal will have the power to issue industry-wide and sector-specific rulings on pay rates and conditions, such as waiting times and payment periods. The tribunal is a response to a 2008 study linking low rates of pay to poor safety.

“The work doesn’t stop at safe rates, there’s still plenty to do,” Squires says.

He says the tribunal must deliver an even playing field and cover all parties in the supply chain.

The government last month introduced bills into the House of Representatives to create the tribunal, which will be housed within Fair Work Australia.

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