Freight in­dus­try brakes ap­plied

COST IN­CREASES, FINES, PAY RATES SPARK NA­TION­WIDE PROTESTS

Big Rigs - - COLUMN -

We are con­cerned about fuel prices, high regis­tra­tion fees, soar­ing costs and have a prob­lem get­ting driv­ers.” — Dave Bun­tak

IN JULY 2008, the Aus­tralian freight in­dus­try threat­ened to come to a stop.

Many owner-driv­ers across the coun­try pulled up the brakes from July 28 for two weeks to protest against a prob­lem that had been around for years.

Started by the Aus­tralian Long Dis­tance Owner Driver’s As­so­ci­a­tion, the shut­down called for higher rates for owner driv­ers.

It was also a protest against re­cent cost in­creases to truck regis­tra­tion and in­creases to logbook fines.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing driv­ers met in towns and cities across the coun­try in early Au­gust.

About 65 driv­ers gath­ered in Cly­bucca in New South Wales on the first day. An­other group came to­gether in Tam­worth. About 50 driv­ers met in Adelaide, with 12 driv­ers tak­ing their trucks through the city in a protest con­voy. An es­ti­mated 150 driv­ers came to the shut­down meet­ing in Townsville.

“ALDODA’s first meet­ing for the shut­down at Rock­lea, with the main­stream me­dia cov­er­age and a con­voy planned to run through Bris­bane city streets, was to be­come one of the most vis­i­ble signs of the na­tional trans­port shut­down,” Big Rigs re­ported in its Au­gust 8 edi­tion.

“While sev­eral hun­dred driv­ers and sup­ports had gath­ered to hear the ad­dress, only 40-45% of ve­hi­cles took part in the protest con­voy.

“They ran un­der po­lice es­cort which fa­cil­i­tated a smooth run through traf­fic and traf­fic lights.”

In pages of cov­er­age, Big Rigs told the sto­ries of wor­ried driv­ers.

Gail and Philip Smith, own­ers of G Smith Truck­ing in Cleve­land, named fuel prices as their big­gest con­cern.

Kev Parker, one of the driv­ers who gath­ered in Townsville, named regis­tra­tion costs and logbook fine hikes as a con­cern. Dave Bun­tak shared his con­cerns. “We are con­cerned about fuel prices, high regis­tra­tion fees, soar­ing costs and have a prob­lem get­ting driv­ers,” he told Big Rigs.

Many driv­ers who took part in the shut­down re­turned to work be­fore the two weeks had fin­ished.

In re­sponse to the shut­down, the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion said it would in­ves­ti­gate driver remuneration rates and pay­ment meth­ods.

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