Safe rates team meets as announcement date looms

Federal Government is close to announcing its position on safe rates, meeting with its advisory group today

October 13, 2011

The Federal Government is close to announcing its position on safe rates, meeting with its advisory group today to finalise its response to a review into trucking pay methods.

Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations Senator Jacinta Collins says the group will advise the government on the response to the National Transport Commission’s review into payment methods and safety in the sector, as well as the Safe Rates, Safe Roads Directions Paper.

The NTC reported a link between low rates of pay and poor safety and recommended government intervention in the marketplace. The directions paper suggested possible changes, including establishing a tribunal to rule on what constitutes a safe rate.

While not revealing details of the government’s response, Collins says it wants fairness for employees and owner drivers, while sustaining the long term viability of the transport industry.

"More than 250 people are killed and over 1000 people suffer serious injuries each year on Australian roads in accidents involving trucks," she says.

"Australian truck drivers work hard to make a living and we want to support measures that ensure pay and related conditions encourage drivers to drive safely, manage their hours and maintain their vehicles. That benefits everyone."

Collins says the total cost of heavy vehicle related accidents involving fatalities or serious injuries in 2010 was $2.7 billion.

The advisory group was formed in 2009 and involves the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Linfox, Scott’s Transport and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA). The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association was recently added to the group after lobbying for a seat at the table.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese told the TWU in August the government would unveil its position on safe rates in October and "intends to introduce legislation, if required, by the end of the year" to establish a scheme.

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