TWU calls for 'dodgy operator' crack-down

The union has called on the NSW government to look at the tipping industry in wake of a driver’s alleged offences in Coffs Harbour

Transport Workers’ Union NSW acting secretary Richard Olsen.


The alleged actions of one truck driver flaunting the law has sparked the New South Wales arm of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) to call upon its state government to take action against "dodgy operators in dodgy trucks."

The call for action comes after a Queensland-registered truck was allegedly discovered on Tuesday with a range of defects and an engine module download that suggested the vehicle had allegedly travelled at speeds up to 134km/h.

The vehicle was intercepted at the Pine Creek Heavy Vehicle Safety Station as part of Operation Impact, a joint initiative from the police, highway authorities, and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) inspectors.

NSW police suggest the vehicle and attached trailer suffered from "oil leaks, exhaust system leaks, and braking issues related to excessive travel."

The driver of the vehicle was also drug tested at the scene and allegedly recorded a positive result for methylamphetamine.

Describing the driver's actions as a race to the bottom, TWU NSW acting secretary Richard Olsen says "mum and dad tip truck drivers… are being squeezed out of the industry" by operators flaunting the rules.

"Dangerously low rates, cowboy operators and a total lack of regulation in the tip truck industry are a ticking time bomb," Olsen says.

"Mum and dad tip truck drivers who play by the rules are being run out of business by dodgy operators.

"These dodgy operators tender at rock bottom prices to win the work and then cut corners on safety, maintenance and fatigue to balance the books."

Highlighting his disappointment at Tuesday's events, RMS’ general manager of compliance operations Paul Endycott says the "inspection show there is a minority who continues to flout the law and attempt to obtain an unfair criminal advantage over good complaint operators."

"Not only are these drivers and operators risking the reputation of their business and their livelihoods, they are putting every road user at risk," he says.

The driver of the vehicle was issued infringements for contravening the speed limiter and for using an unsafe heavy vehicle, each worth fines of $630.

He will also face further court action over the alleged positive drug result.

The truck has been issued a defect notice to return to a safety station for clearance within seven days.

Olsen says the incident is an example of "head contractors and the NSW Government [being] just as culpable as the dodgy operators."

"They give work to shonky operators who bid at rock bottom prices," he says.

"They know full well that in order to stay profitable these guys will ignore safety regulations, overload or not properly maintain their vehicles.

"We need some backbone from the NSW Government to finally crack down on these mobs."



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