House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Statements by Members

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

1:57 pm

Photo of Chris HayesChris Hayes (Fowler, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I urge the government not to abandon the Labor initiative for establishing safer roads in our road transport system and to keep the commitment in relation to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

I am not sure whether everyone here understands that the road transport industry is the deadliest industry of all those operating in this country. Road transport has 25 deaths per 100,000—that is 10 times greater than the average. That means that 330 Australians die each year on the roads as a consequence of the heavy transport industry, as well as the many injuries that occur.

This is about retaining a system that delivers safe rates for truck drivers. I do not know about others, but I spend a bit of time in some of these truck depots and see people negotiate their rates. I saw one fellow at one time take a B-double load from Sydney through to Brisbane, but the only payment he got was the cost of fuel. If you can actually drive the rates down so hard like that, it is no wonder people cut corners, no wonder people falsify their road books, no wonder that truck drivers speed and no wonder that our roads are not safe.

I urge those opposite not to take an ideological view, as they normally do, to tribunals but on this occasion, to think about their constituents.