Albanese gives TWU reason to believe on safe rates

Response within two months and legislation 'if required' by years end, minister tells union meeting

August 26, 2011

The Federal Government’s decision on safe rates will be unveiled in six weeks time, according to Transport Minister Anthony Albanese in a speech made today.

A day after Transport Workers Union (TWU) members halted traffic in Sydney for a period during a demonstration in support of the initiative, Albanese told the union’s NSW annual conference that the government "intends to introduce legislation if required, by the end of the year".

"I know it is an issue that the TWU is committed to and has campaigned strongly on," he says.

"I share your commitment to safe rates.

"The Government acknowledges the need to tackle the problems of speed and fatigue in the road transport industry and to remove economic incentives for drivers to engage in unsafe work practices.

"We know this is an important issue to truck drivers, their families, the transport industry and the wider community.

"As you know, the Government has been carefully considering the results of the consultation on the options canvassed in the Safe Rates, Safe Roads Directions Paper to determine a practical strategy to address these issues."

The level of union expectation will be high, with a ministerial spokesman saying Albanese received two standing ovations during the speech.

He also highlighted his government’s $70 million investment in upgrading 104 truck stops and building 47 new ones and pledged more of the same.

"The Heavy Vehicle Productivity and Safety Program is the first Commonwealth dedicated program of its kind and I am proud of it, although I recognise there is much more to do," Albanese says.

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