The Transport Workers Union’s safe rates summit is about controlling the market and not about genuine truck safety reform, the CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, Ben Maguire, said today.
The TWU will hold the summit in Parliament House this week, but 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,” Mr Maguire said.
“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.”
Mr Maguire said 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,” he said.
The ATA represents the 50,000 businesses and 211,500 people in the Australian trucking industry and has a diverse General Council, which includes associations representing thousands of small businesses, elected owner-driver and small fleet representatives, and major logistics companies.