Lovel supports training fund for transport industry

Former VTA CEO and current ARTIO secretary/treasurer wants government to establish a fund to support industry training and accreditation programs

May 27, 2013

The former CEO of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has backed government intervention to create a training fund aimed squarely at the trucking industry.

Appearing at last week’s Transport Workers Union (TWU) National Council, Phil Lovel supported the establishment of a fund to bankroll industry training and accreditation programs for drivers and employers.

Lovel, who is the secretary/treasurer of the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO), says transport operators have identified industry accreditation and training issues as critical.

"It would be great to see increased cooperation from governments, industry bodies and the companies at the top end of the supply chains on this important issue," he says.

The TWU has asked the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) to create a training fund. The TWU wants the industry’s clients in the retail and long-distance sectors to be liable for paying for it.

"Drivers and road freight companies are keen to pursue new ways of working together to achieve better outcomes for the industry. Training and accreditation programs are vital to improving standards, but they must be properly resourced," TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says.

"The end clients in the supply chain need to get on board and be part of a holistic industry approach to safety, alongside transport companies, the Union and governments."

Lovel also told attendees at the National Council the RSRT, which the Coalition will "urgently" review if it wins the federal election later this year, had an important job to do in protecting safety standards in the industry.

Lovel says transport companies are under constant pressure from clients to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

"But there’s only so far that you can go in reducing costs before you start sacrificing safety standards," he says.

"No one is seeking to hide from competitive pressure, but competition should be on the basis of value and service, not on the basis of cutting corners or bending the rules of common sense."

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