TWU NEWS: Trained drivers are the answer

PROFESSIONALLY trained drivers are making a difference to the road transport industry and will be the answer to the challenges currently facing the road transport industry.

There are some that are suggesting that the next 30 years will see more change in transport technology than we have seen before.

Driverless vehicles are already servicing mines in remote areas of Australia and we are seeing companies rush headlong into the introduction of automation technology.

The race is on to put driverless vehicles on Australian roads.

Overseas, platooning trials that feature automated driverless trucks are being overseen by Australian employers like Toll Holdings.

They and other employers are responding to the gospel of 'productivity' that organisations like the Australian Road Research Board have been pushing.

What worries me the most is what that looks like when it comes to the people in our industry, the drivers.

These are people, not commodities, with families, who need to earn a living.

The gospel of productivity is another way of saying job cuts.

In the public transport area, a PWC report suggests that it is possible over 90,000 bus, automobile and rail jobs could be lost to automation.

A report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia shows the possibility that 40% of Australian jobs that exist today are at risk to automation.

Others have suggested that an automated fleet of vehicles on the roads will reduce the level of human error that is causing accidents.

How confident the driving public in Australia is about this is yet to be seen.

We have said before that the impact of automation on jobs is the sleeper issue in Australian politics.

Nobody has explained how someone who drives a truck or a bus will be able to feed their family when their job is consumed by technology.

We will continue to ensure that drivers are represented in the fight to keep jobs and fair working conditions.

This makes sure that roads are safer for all.

We need to seriously question what the addition of technology and automation means.

Technology by itself has neither the flexibility nor responsibility that a professionally trained driver possesses.

We risk handing responsibility for someone's life on our roads, to a machine.

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