Feb 16, 2018

TWU MEDIA RELEASE, 16 February 2018

The Transport Workers’ Union has criticised the Federal Government’s inaction over the crisis in trucking as three people were killed in a truck crash in Sydney today.

The crash happened in Sydney’s south-west with three people killed in a car which collided with a truck, according to police reports.

“My thoughts go out to the families of those killed in this crash, which has yet to be fully investigated. We don’t expect any reaction from the Federal Government on this or the hundreds of other crashes which are happening every year and claiming lives. This Government is in chaos while people are dying on the roads. Instead what we are seeing is an increase in truck crash fatalities as a direct result of the Government abolishing a road safety tribunal two years ago,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

Official statistics show a 9.4% increase in deaths from truck crashes nationally. The figured for NSW spiked significantly with an 86% jump in deaths from articulated trucks. New Safe Work Australia data for 2017 showed almost 40% of all workplace deaths involved a transport worker. Despite overall workplace deaths decreasing last year, the number of transport workers killed on the job jumped to 66, up from 57 in 2016.

“The Federal Government was warned repeatedly not to shut down the independent road safety tribunal. Its own report on the tribunal showed its Orders were cutting trucks crashes by 28%. Families and communities are being torn apart while all we get from the Government is disorder,” said Tony Sheldon.

“There is a crisis in transport that is being caused right at the top of the supply chain – by the wealthy retailers and manufacturers which financially squeezing operators and drivers. The road safety tribunal was investigating this financial squeeze and the risks to safety. Now there is no check on the power and deadly influence of these retailers and manufacturers on transport,” he added.

Numerous academic studies and coronial inquiries have established the lethal dynamic between pay and safety on the roads and the need for a safe rates system. A report by the National Transport Commission states: “There is solid survey evidence linking payment levels and systems to crashes, speeding, driving while fatigued and drug use”.

In October, a cross-party Senate committee approved a report recommending that the Government facilitate industry talks to “establish an independent industry body which has the power to formulate, implement and enforce supply chain standards and accountability as well as sustainable, safe rates for the transport industry”.

© 2016 Transport Workers' Union of Australia.
Authorised by Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary, 388-390 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia.