Greens are right to reject rego increases: TWU

TWU welcomes news the Greens will not support party senator’s call for $23,000 B-double rego fees

October 15, 2010

The union has joined the trucking lobby in welcoming the Greens’ decision to reject calls from a party senator to increase truck registration fees to $23,000 a year.

The Greens earlier this week ruled out trying to slug the trucking industry with hefty increases in registration charges in line with calls from its incoming senator, Lee Lee Rhiannon.

During the federal election campaign, Rhiannon claimed the industry was not paying enough and that registration fees for eight-axle B-doubles should be $23,000 instead of the current figure of $14,770.

The Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate from July 1 next year.

"Earlier this year we had Ms Rhiannon call for a massive increase in registration for trucks to cover, in part, the costs generated by truck crashes," Transport Workers Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon says.

"Putting the costs directly onto the drivers through registration will only add more pressure when they get on the road."

The union will instead meet with Rhiannon and the party’s spokeswoman on transport, Christine Milne, to seek their support for an overhaul to pay rates.

The Federal Government has committed to implementing ‘safe rates’ to ensure truck drivers are paid enough to make ends meet.

A National Transport Commission (NTC) report in 2008 found sub-contractors lacked the ability to secure a sustainable rate and that many were forced into committing unsafe practices to make a living.

The report also criticised incentive-based payments such as kilometre rates that reward drivers based on the distance they travel.

"It also linked economic factors to the appalling death rate in the road transport industry, which currently stands at over 300 a year," Sheldon says.

"Truck drivers have no guarantee of full-cost recovery as it is. We need a system of safe rates across the country, where drivers can get all costs back for rising charges and fluctuating fuel prices, otherwise we are going to see rising economic pressure cause further unsafe practices," Sheldon says.

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