Anita, Australia, 29 Nov : A range of practical strategies to reduce deaths and improve road safety are canvassed in a discussion paper released today by Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins.
The “Safe Rates, Safe Roads” paper, explores options for a national approach to truck drivers’ pay and conditions and safety measures across the industry.
“The Gillard Government understands the importance of this issue to truck drivers, the transport industry and the wider community,” Senator Collins said.
“The Safe Rates Advisory Group has provided a comprehensive range of practical options for discussion and I look forward to receiving feedback from interested parties.
“We have to tackle the problems of speed and fatigue in the road transport industry and remove economic incentives for drivers to engage in unsafe work practices.”
Senator Collins said about 330 people are killed on Australian roads in heavy vehicle accidents each year.
“There is a clear body of evidence linking pay rates to safety on our roads,” Senator Collins said.
“Drivers feel pressure to work long hours to meet schedules. This pressure leads to drivers speeding and using illicit substances to stay awake.
“This discussion paper examines a system of safe pay rates so drivers can work legally and safely.”
“The nation’s roads are shared by all Australians and it is in all our interests to ensure that we are safe on our roads.”
Safe Rates: Safe Roads will inform the Government’s response to the National Transport Commission Report, Safe Payments Addressing the Underlying Causes of Unsafe Practices in the Road Transport Industry.
Senator Collins thanked the Safe Rates Advisory Group in drafting the discussion paper which included employer and employee representatives. The consultation period ends on January 28, 2011.