Turpie lashes out at safe rates critics

LongHaul Drivers Association president criticises safe rates opponents and claims regulations are forcing out quality truck drivers

By Rob McKay | May 25, 2012

LongHaul Drivers Association President Brian Turpie has taken aim at Australian Logistics Council CEO Michael Kilgariff and others over opposition to the impending Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

Turpie has accused certain industry employer bodies of wilful disregard for a body of evidence that links remuneration to road safety.

The tribunal will begin on July 1 armed with the power to set remuneration for truck drivers, including mandating paid waiting time and setting payment terms.

The move is in response to a 2008 National Transport Commission (NTC) report that found low rates of pay in the trucking industry lead to poor safety outcomes.

"In fact, there have been no less than five studies, four coronial inquests and numerous papers delivered to various governments over the last 25 years that have proved conclusively that the link is undeniable and patently obvious to the eminent people who investigated that proposition," Turpie states in a letter to Owner//Driver

"All of those reports were made available to Regulators when the framework for the Tribunal was being debated and analysed by the NTC, DEEWR [Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations] and the Federal Government."

Turpie says kilometre rates ignore "associated work such as loading, unloading, queuing, fuelling and preparing the truck for the next trip".

He adds that the level of industry regulation is having a detrimental effect, saying quality and experienced drivers are being pushed out of the industry.

"We now find ourselves in the untenable position of recruiting drivers through Centrelink and the driver training schools that are churning out new MC drivers at a frightening pace," Turpie says.

"These poor souls are being thrown in at the deep end and they either sink or swim and unfortunately a lot of them are sinking."

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