A 2018 change for good

OPINION: Seek­ing a new year safety res­o­lu­tion from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment


THE be­gin­ning of a new year means for many a res­o­lu­tion to make their lives bet­ter.

Peo­ple want to lose weight, give up old habits, and try to gen­er­ally be a bet­ter per­son.

This new year, I want to chal­lenge the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to come back to the trans­port in­dus­try with res­o­lu­tions that won’t be bro­ken or placed in the “too hard” bas­ket.

In the last edition of Big Rigs, Sen­a­tor Michaelia Cash com­mented “the gov­ern­ment takes the safety of all road users, in­clud­ing truck driv­ers, very se­ri­ously”.

She said SafeWork Aus­tralia and other reg­u­la­tors would fo­cus on re­duc­ing the high num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties in our in­dus­try.

Good, but not good enough.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ap­pears to have a nar­row fo­cus, only on where the wheels hit the ground and not the in­dus­try as a whole.

I am ab­so­lutely cer­tain the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment will un­der­stand the re­al­ity that road safety is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The “but” is in the way they address it, dump­ing that shared re­spon­si­bil­ity on the heav­ily reg­u­lated, heav­ily tolled, heav­ily scru­ti­nised peo­ple be­hind the wheel to meet their safer roads goal.

Buy­ing more cam­eras to catch a pos­si­ble speed­ing truck is not the an­swer to en­sur­ing a safer road.

A watch­dog or tri­bunal must be put in place with the power to for­mu­late, im­ple­ment and en­force sup­ply chain stan­dards and ac­count­abil­ity en­sur­ing sus­tain­able, safe rates at all lev­els of the in­dus­try.

Cur­rently the pres­sure on driv­ers, none more ev­i­dent than over the re­cent Christ­mas delivery sea­son, is mak­ing this in­dus­try highly dan­ger­ous.

Too many are not mak­ing it home at the end of a shift.

TWU mem­ber John Han­ley spoke re­cently on the pres­sures be­ing faced.

“A load of wine might come from Western Aus­tralia and it’s sched­uled to ar­rive in Syd­ney on Mon­day morn­ing,” Mr Han­ley said.

“That truck has maybe two days to get from WA to Syd­ney.

“He might have a drop in Syd­ney, and an­other drop in Par­ra­matta. Well, you just can’t.

“With the way that the traf­fic is here on a Mon­day morn­ing, it’s just ridicu­lous. I have ex­pe­ri­enced it my­self first-hand.

“I have to tray loads and tray drops with whole­salers here and it’s im­pos­si­ble to get to the whole­salers within half an hour.

“You need to queue up, you might be wait­ing two hours.

“I have waited as long as seven hours in a queue to get un­loaded. And that’s part of what the truck driv­ers are up against. “It has not im­proved.” The re­solve of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needs to be strong in 2018.

The en­force­ment of the Chain of Re­spon­si­bil­ity, which af­fects mums and dads and kids, needs not just be where the rub­ber meets the road.

It must also be where the suit meets the chair in ev­ery board­room of ev­ery com­pany that uses driv­ers to carry Aus­tralia.


ON THE ROAD: Unions are call­ing for a change to road safety into the new year.

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