House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Statements by Members

Road Safety

1:42 pm

Photo of David SmithDavid Smith (Bean, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week I met with a delegation of TWU members and officials, joined by employers, employer associations and families members affected by road accidents. There were workers from the gig economy, food delivery couriers and owner-drivers, along with supportive employers. There've been over 1,000 truck deaths since the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was shut down in 2016. Surveys of truck drivers across the industry have revealed that 42 per cent of owner-drivers didn't raise safety concerns out of a fear they'd lose pay, and 52 per cent of drivers have experienced wage theft. Drivers experience pressure from the top and now, more perniciously, from the bottom, where unregulated gig companies like Amazon push workers into precarious work with low rates of pay and no workplace rights or entitlements.

This combination of undercutting, outsourcing and piece rates is making our transport industry more and more dangerous. As the member for Spence put it eloquently in his first speech last night, it's why we need a tribunal to set minimum rates and standards to protect both employees and employers, ensuring our roads are safe, our skies are safe and, above all, our people are safe. I cannot be any clearer when I say this: safe rates save lives.