LBCA 2016: Finemore manager sticks it to critics of foreign truck drivers

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Greg Bush


Finemore Transport manager takes issue with people criticising foreign truck drivers.

LBCA 2016: Finemore manager sticks it to critics of foreign truck drivers
Paul Pulver says Ron Finemore Transport has had to employ international truck drivers because Australians do not want to work.

 

A senior manager at Ron Finemore Transport has taken aim at critics of foreign truck drivers working in Australia.

Paul Pulver delivered an impromptu defence of international drivers at this year’s Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) conference, saying they were diligent and hardworking and were necessary because many Australians did not want to work.

The issue of foreign truck drivers working in Australia gained widespread media attention recently due to an incident involving a truck belonging to Scott’s of Mt Gambier.

The driver, Gary Singh from India, caused significant traffic delays on Sydney’s M5 motorway when he realised the B-double was too big to enter a tunnel and tried to reverse it, jack-knifing the rig in the process.

The media claimed Singh was working on a 457 visa at the time. The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) investigation found the claim was false.

The incident also led to the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to demand an investigation into whether companies were bringing in truck drivers from overseas in violation of the 457 visa system.

Pulver told the LBCA conference that criticism of Indian truck drivers "gets up my nose a little bit".

"We’ve [Ron Finemore Transport] got 60 or 70 of them. They come to work, they come to work on time, they do what they are asked to do to the best of their abilities. Our blokes haven’t driven underneath bridges, our blokes have got Australian licences," Pulver says.

"Not all of them have got citizenship in Australia but the reason they are there is because bloody Australians didn’t want to work. That’s why they are there."

Pulver says people should not be directing their criticism at Indian drivers, saying the onus is on trucking companies to make sure their employees are competent before sending them out on to the road.

"The whole business going on with the Indians is not the Indians’ fault. It’s the people that employ them," he says.

"Our blokes, whether they be Australian or Indian, have got to be able to back into a dock. If they can’t do that they can’t work.

"It’s not the Indians. It might be bloody Scott’s or it might be somebody else, but they haven’t ensured those drivers have had the competency to do the job that they have asked them to do."

RMS general manager of accreditation and assurance Joanne Treacy attended the LBCA conference and told the crowd the driver did have the correct licence at the time of the incident.

"That driver actually did have a licence," she says.

Treacy adds that international drivers working without the correct licence in NSW has not been a serious problem for the RMS.

"It has not been something that has caused RMS a lot of issues in the compliance area. It is certainly hasn’t come up as something that we have to do a major project on or look significantly [at it]," she says.

Truck driving is currently not included on the list of skilled occupations for 457 visa holders.

The Australian Trucking Association wrote to the Federal Government in 2013 asking it to allow overseas drivers to apply for a 457 visa to operate trucks in Australia.

 

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