Safety concern if tribunal axed
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has plans to abolish the tribunal, which would need to be legislated and pass the parliament before it could be repealed, no repeal legislation has yet been introduced to the parliament.
SAFETY FEAR: Burnett Express Couriers’ Beatrice Lutz said if the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunalwas repealed, truck driverswould be put under extra pressure to cut corners to reduce transport times.