Safety con­cern if tri­bunal axed

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

AXING the watch­dog on truck­ies’ de­liv­ery dead­lines will lead to more ac­ci­dents on our roads, the owner of Bur­nett Ex­press Couri­ers, Beatrice Lutz said.

As part of its plans to cut “red tape” the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is gear­ing to re­peal the Road Safety Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal, the group that steps in to en­sure truck driv­ers are not pres­sured to ex­ceed load lim­its, driv­ing times and speed lim­its.

But Mrs Lutz said the move would only pave the way for com­pa­nies to de­mand ex­treme work­loads from their driv­ers.

“In th­ese eco­nomic times lots of the big­ger truck­ing com­pa­nies are push­ing their driv­ers re­ally hard to meet dead­lines,” she said.

“They (the big­ger com­pa­nies) have to be held ac­count­able to some­one. I think if you lose that ac­count­abil­ity you are just go­ing to have more ac­ci­dents.”

Mrs Lutz said while road con­di­tions also put pres­sure on driv­ers, th­ese dead­lines were the main prob­lem.

“Main­te­nance costs do go up be­cause of the roads. There is a small per­cent­age not up to scratch, but most of the time it’s not the roads, it’s the dead­lines (that cause prob­lems).”

But Bill Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Trans­port in Monto, said road con­di­tions were con­tribut­ing to many of the prob­lems the tri­bunal was tar­get­ing.

“The best way to pro­tect truck driv­ers is to im­prove the roads,” he said.

“In the North Bur­nett we need more rest ar­eas that are truck friendly. The ones we do have are gen­er­ally all clogged with grey no­mads, and that forces you to drive longer than you should. That con­trib­utes to fa­tigue.”

The Road Safety Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal is the only body with the power to in­ter­vene when big trans­port clients use eco­nomic pres­sure to force faster de­liv­er­ies.

The tri­bunal is part way through sev­eral key con­sul­ta­tion pro­cesses over the dead­lines for truck driv­ers, safety is­sues and ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween driv­ers and the larger clients.

While the gov­ern­ment has plans to abol­ish the tri­bunal, which would need to be leg­is­lated and pass the par­lia­ment be­fore it could be re­pealed, no re­peal leg­is­la­tion has yet been in­tro­duced to the par­lia­ment.

PHOTO: CARLY MOR­RIS­SEY

SAFETY FEAR: Bur­nett Ex­press Couri­ers’ Beatrice Lutz said if the Road Safety Re­mu­ner­a­tion Tri­bunal­was re­pealed, truck driver­swould be put un­der ex­tra pres­sure to cut cor­ners to re­duce trans­port times.

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