The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) are calling on the trucking community to call out racism whenever it happens and celebrate the diversity of the industry.
The ATA and the NHVR made the call following reports of targeted attacks on multicultural truck drivers and racist comments on trucking social media pages.
ATA Chair David Smith said freight workers from diverse backgrounds had always made a massive contribution to Australia.
“The cameleers of the 1800s, the workers on the Snowy after the war and the drivers from all over the world delivering food and essential medicine during this pandemic: they all deserve our respect, and all of today’s drivers deserve a fair go,” Smith said.
“The ATA is aware that some multicultural drivers are being harassed, in particular those of Indian descent. Racists on social media are egging each other on to ever more extreme actions, including cutting truck air lines.”
Smith added that we all have a responsibility to call out racism wherever it occurs. “And that’s exactly what this is. Racism. It is ignorant. It is stupid. And it is dangerous,” he said.
“I pay tribute today to multicultural drivers who are courageously putting up with this unacceptable and disgusting harassment every day. As people in the trucking industry, we must all combat racism and stand up for fairness and safety.”
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said it was important for everyone in the heavy vehicle industry to continue to support and respect each other.
“This year in particular, we’ve seen drivers, members of the supply chain, service centres and authorised officers work together through the challenges of the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic,” Petroccitto said.
“That mateship and respect is important, now more than ever, to ensure we can continue to safely deliver essential goods and services across the country.
Smith said the ATA and its members had long recognised the value of diversity and multiculturalism within the industry, most recently with the Driving Change Diversity Program.
“Through our Driving Change Diversity Program, we seek to promote the existing diversity within our industry, and encourage an even more diverse workforce,” Smith said.
“It also promotes inclusion and encourages acceptance of all people no matter their race, religion or cultural beliefs.”
Anyone who has concerns about safety in their workplace can report it through the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Line on 1800 931 785.