Dec 9, 2016

Safe rates save lives

The absurdity of the Turnbull Government’s abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has been highlighted by the Government’s plan to spend $800,000 on a study into the causes of fatigue in truck drivers.

We already know that the chief cause of truck driver fatigue in Australia is drivers being pressured to drive without adequate rest periods because of low pay levels.

This was why the former Federal Labor Government created the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal – to remove incentives for drivers to drive while fatigued or resort to the use of drugs to stay awake.

The tribunal’s work was aimed at improving safety on the roads for truck drivers and other road users.

But the Government abolished the tribunal earlier this year.

This was a wholly political decision designed to win votes in response to complaints by some owner-drivers about the tribunal.

The Government has a responsibility to play its part in protecting motorists as they travel on the nation’s highways.

Removing incentives for truck drivers to drive without adequate breaks is a key part of that responsibility.

But this Government has turned its back on heavy vehicle safety and is replicating research that is already available and led to the creation of the tribunal.