House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Statements by Members

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

1:47 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Road transport is the most dangerous industry in Australia, with workers 15 times more likely to be killed at work than any other worker. This safety crisis is an issue not just for truck drivers but for everyone who uses our roads. My electorate of Newcastle is not immune to the dangers that are posed. In recent years there have been six fatal accidents either in my electorate or involving someone from my community. There have also been three accidents resulting in serious injuries. And, while sometimes lives are spared and injuries avoided, major safety risks remain on our roads when transport workers are pushed to their limits.

A case in point occurred just north of my electorate in September last year. Two B-double semitrailers collided with each other on the Pacific Highway at Heatherbrae in the early hours of the morning. While loss of life and serious injury were avoided on this occasion, both vehicles suffered major damage, and our main east coast arterial road, the Pacific Highway, was closed for three hours.

Labor treats road safety seriously, and that is why in 2012, when in government, we 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. But the safety of our truck drivers and road users is now under threat as the Abbott government postures to axe the tribunal. I call on the Abbott Liberal government to put the safety of truck drivers and all road users first and to leave the tribunal alone to do its job. (Time expired)