More has to be done to pre­vent th­ese tragedies

Big Rigs - - COLUMN -

WE HAVE seen two lives lost in the past few weeks, one when a truck veered off the Lo­gan Mo­tor­way in Queens­land (pic­tured) and an­other in a head-on col­li­sion be­tween two trucks near Wil­ton.

The Trans­port Work­ers Union is look­ing into the prob­lems sur­round­ing such sig­nif­i­cant ac­ci­dents in our in­dus­try and we note that the gov­ern­ments in this coun­try ap­pear to still be sit­ting on their hands.

What are they wait­ing for? An­other truck driver to die?

Since the ac­ci­dent which saw a Hari Om com­pany truck lose con­trol down Mount Ous­ley, crash­ing into a McDon­ald’s car park at Fairy Meadow in NSW, the Syd­ney-based truck­ing com­pany in­volved has been is­sued a de­fect no­tice for ev­ery sin­gle truck in its fleet. Not only that, we are concerned about al­le­ga­tions made of ex­ploita­tion of driv­ers.

We have called for in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the ac­ci­dents and into the role played by wealthy com­pa­nies which con­tract th­ese trans­port op­er­a­tors.

We have called for and been sup­ported by the likes of Se­na­tor Glenn Sterle for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ex­ploita­tion of driv­ers here on stu­dent visas.

As Se­na­tor Sterle re­cently said, more must be done now by the out-of-touch Mor­ri­son Gov­ern­ment to pre­vent th­ese ac­ci­dents hap­pen­ing.

We know this is not an iso­lated in­ci­dent. Cow­boy op­er­a­tors will al­ways run rogue in our in­dus­try and give it a bad name – not to men­tion con­tinue to put lives at risk – un­less the book is thrown at them.

The inad­e­qua­cies of gov­ern­ment poli­cies are fully on show here.

We need leg­is­la­tion that puts re­spon­si­bil­ity and cru­cial ac­count­abil­ity at ev­ery level of the sup­ply chain.

Leg­is­la­tion needs to be in place that com­pels op­er­a­tors to stop cut­ting cor­ners on safety – to main­tain proper up­keep of ve­hi­cles, to hire ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers and in­vest in driver train­ing, and to com­ply with safety pro­to­cols like cor­rect fa­tigue man­age­ment and ve­hi­cle main­te­nance.

We want to see ma­jor com­pa­nies choos­ing trans­port op­er­a­tors with the best prac­tices, ex­cel­lent safety stan­dards and fair work­ing con­di­tions for their trans­port needs, not just com­pa­nies with the low­est price.

All heavy ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents be in­ves­ti­gated as work­place ac­ci­dents and com­pa­nies must en­sure that driver safety is not at risk for short term com­mer­cial gains.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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