House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Statements by Members

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

1:45 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

Anybody who knows anything about the trucking industry knows that it can sometimes be a dangerous place to work. Whether you have drivers in your family, as I do or like my great mate the member for Lalor does—wherever your understanding comes from—it is pretty easy to grasp that there are particular stresses and strains associated with a life on the road. Anybody who cares about the safety of truckies and other road users would think that 330 heavy vehicle related deaths is 330 too many. And the same goes for the 5,300 who are injured.

The whole point of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was to address the safety issues and try and reduce the number of accidents. That is why it was established in 2012 by the former Labor government, after a dedicated and ultimately successful information campaign from drivers, their industry and their union, the Transport Workers Union. I pay tribute to them for that campaign, because they made our roads safer. It is hard to believe that some in this parliament want to see the tribunal axed and truckies left on their own. It is hard to believe they are sitting on a review of that tribunal while they send out junior ministers to hint at its abolition. But they are, and it is appalling. So, on behalf of Australia's drivers and others who use our roads, we say today that the government should let the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal do its job and keep people safer on our roads than they would otherwise be.