TRANSPORT Workers' Union members have been taking time out from behind the wheel to visit Federal MPs to discuss Safe Rates and the need to protect the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
For more than 20 years the TWU has fought for Safe Rates, so that no driver is forced by economic pressure to skip maintenance, speed or drive while fatigued.
Since 2012 we've had a key tool to address the root cause of the hundreds of fatal truck crashes on our roads by holding those clients with the economic power at the top of the supply chain to account - the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
The tribunal is just starting to get into the heart of its work and is also looking into the fuel, cash in transit and, potentially, waste industries.
But after receiving $1.2 million in donations from Coles and holding a series of closed door meetings, the Federal Government is "reviewing" the tribunal with a plan to axe it. If this occurs, we'll see tighter delivery deadlines, poorer maintenance and more deaths on our roads.
So that's why members have been speaking to federal politicians about the need to keep the tribunal and to save Safe Rates.
Long-distance driver Eric Pickering recently travelled to Canberra to speak to politicians about the need to keep the tribunal and to save Safe Rates.
Eric told me: "If we let them axe the tribunal then there will be nothing left to stop rates getting squeezed even more than they are right now. All that will achieve is more death and injuries on our roads. We can't let this happen and it's up to us to tell the politicians what's at stake."
"So I'm making the case to politicians they need to keep the tribunal, not just for drivers like me, but for their families and for everyone on the roads," he said.
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