Sep 11, 2017

Labor Backs Early Action on Driverless Vehicles

Labor welcomes today’s release of a Parliamentary committee report recommending that the Government act now to prepare Australia for the advent of driverless vehicles.

As the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources report points out, automation of transport offers major potential benefits for the Australian community, including making our roads safer and less congested while boosting productivity.

But the process of change must be carefully managed, particularly when it comes to the effect of driverless cars and heavy vehicles on employment.

Across the globe, the pace of technological change is accelerating so quickly that there is a clear and important role for Government intervention to manage change in the public interest.

The Committee’s idea for the creation of a Commonwealth body to work with state and territory governments on automated transport with regard to issues including public engagement, employment ramifications, standardisation of road infrastructure, insurance and security issues makes perfect sense.

The Committee is also correct to point out the need for Australia to embrace change as a positive by seeking opportunities for the creation of new, highly skilled jobs related to transport automation.

While the widespread use of driverless cars is some years away, this report provides a great blueprint for how our nation can get out in front of change and harness it in our national interest.


Direct quotes attributable to Anthony Albanese

The transition to driverless cars and heavy vehicles in Australia will take years, but it is critical that governments start planning now so that we can maximise the benefits while mitigating any negative effects.

It’s important that all levels of government, along with employers, trade unions and other interested groups, work in a spirit of bipartisanship to make change a positive force for our country.

One of our key concerns must be lifting investment in education and training to ensure that as driverless cars eliminate jobs performed by people, the workers are given skills to allow them to move to other jobs.

Direct quotes attributable to Ed Husic

This is yet another report highlighting the urgency for government preparedness in the face of massive technological change likely to impact on Australian jobs.

We know roughly 250,000 people owe their living to driving – truck drivers, taxi drivers and bus drivers.

This report is a solid contribution but must not meet the fate of similar reports that recommend actions this Government should take to prepare us for the future of work but are left to gather dust. It’s critical that the Government acts on this report.

There is a lot of work to be done to prepare us for the future of work more broadly and specifically for a world of driverless vehicles. Government must lead the way to develop national data and privacy policies, standardised infrastructure and make sure pilot programs inform those decisions.