House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Statements by Members

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

1:29 pm

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

Each year, an average of 330 people are killed on our roads as a result of heavy vehicle incidents. That is why, in 2012, the Labor government established the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to address safety problems in trucking and reduce the number of fatal truck crashes on our roads each year.

Truck drivers are the backbone of road transport. Without them, there would be no food on our supermarket shelves, no construction materials available to builders and no petrol at the pumps. Without trucks, Australia stops. But the safety of truck drivers and all road users is under threat from the Abbott government. The government is sitting on a review of the tribunal's operation. If the government is going to axe the tribunal, the public is entitled to know now.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear: abolishing the tribunal will mean roads will be less safe for all users. No-one wants to see people dying on our roads and the facts are, when truck drivers are overworked—literally driven to fatigue—safety for all road users is reduced.

Deaths on the roads are not mere statistics on paper. They are people's lives. They are people's mothers and fathers, their husbands and wives and their daughters and sons. The tribunal must be left alone by the Abbott government to do its job, which is to make the roads safer for everybody in this country.