Mar 25, 2014

Abbott rejects trucking industry safety program

The Coalition has rejected Labor amendments to enshrine a safety and productivity program for the heavy vehicle sector in legislation.

The former Labor Government created the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program under the existing Nation Building Act in 2009.

The program funds the construction of new rest stops and parking/decoupling bays, technology trials, road and bridge upgrades and livestock industry-specific improvements.

There are 294 projects in total, including some 236 projects that have been completed, along with over 140 new or upgraded rest areas and 46 new or upgraded parking and decoupling bays.

These projects provide a safer and more productive work environment for the heavy vehicle sector and safer roads for all drivers.

Labor in Government allocated over $320 million funding for the program.

Yesterday in the House of Representatives I moved amendments to incorporate the program into the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill so that it can continue to save lives.

This was appropriate given the nature of this new legislation is to provide a framework for infrastructure and transport funding moving forward.

The Coalition voted against the amendments.

This was an irresponsible decision.

Hundreds of people are killed on Australian roads every year as a result of road accidents involving heavy vehicles.

The Coalition should support the amendments to the bill in the Senate to ensure this program can continue.