Dear Minister, please explain
MINISTER, the New South Wales Budget has shown the Government is working to support our members and our industry.
We recognise there are millions of dollars for upgrades in our major road networks. Many of these roads have previously been described as goat tracks.
This is a contribution to the safety of road users.
However the TWU notes there is still plenty missing when it comes to road safety, and plenty missing when it comes to financial relief for families involved in road transport.
Minister, we know you consider the transport industry good for the economy.
Your media release from June 19 says the budget measures are supporting the "movement of more that $200billion worth of products such as whitegoods and grain throughout the state”.
Despite this, you still seem hellbent on putting more pressure on drivers, diving deeply into their wallets and more. Is it any wonder truck drivers are angry?
Toll relief does not exist for truck drivers. For many truck drivers tolls are a significant part of any journey.
Every day truck drivers face the reality of the difficulty of recovering costs in a very competitive marketplace.
In NSW, road tolling is principally benefiting one group of people, the owners and shareholders of companies like Transurban, which are making deals with government, not for the benefit of road users.
Minister, you are announcing an increase in fines, as a road safety measure, saying recently "We need to plan in terms of reducing the road toll”.
"We have been very upfront with the community offering 50 more police.”
At the TWU, we support any measures that can make our roads safer, but again we remind you that targeting the truck driver is not the answer.
We remind you that the NSW Government cannot keep pretending it doesn't know about the dangers our industry is confronted by.
Fines and police action are only a minor part of the solution.
As long as the NSW Government continues to blame road users and treat only the symptoms while ignoring the cause, deaths will not stop and any budget measure is only a half measure.
Every day drivers are confronted by issues they need help with.
There are simple needs like providing adequate fencing along road sides to prevent rock attacks.
There are bigger needs too, which protect everyone on roads and prevent truck drivers dying needlessly on the job.
We need strong policies that actually reach the corporate boardrooms where decisions are made.
At the TWU we will never stop fighting for fair working conditions and safe roads for our truck drivers, their families and all families who use the road, because everyone deserves to come home safely at the end of the day.